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Israel's "Iron Dome" anti-missile defense system

An Iron Dome missile is launched in Tel Aviv, to intercept a rocket fired from Gaza Saturday.

Oded Balilty/AP

An Iron Dome missile is launched in Tel Aviv, to intercept a rocket fired from Gaza Saturday.

JERUSALEM (AP) — The Israeli military is calling its ‘‘Iron Dome’’ a big success.

Israel has used the missile-defense system to intercept rockets Gaza-based militants have been firing toward civilian areas over the last four days. The military says the home-grown system has shot down some 240 incoming rockets, more than half the number launched into Israel since Wednesday.

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Residents of Tel Aviv cheered today as an Iron Dome battery shot down a rocket headed for the city.

The system has been operational since last year and five batteries have been deployed, including the one set up outside Tel Aviv today.

Officials say the Iron Dome has a roughly 80 percent success rate. It detects rocket launches and quickly calculates the flight path. If the rocket is headed toward populated areas or sensitive targets, an interceptor with a special warhead is fired. It’s capable of striking the incoming rocket within seconds.

The Iron Dome is meant to protect against short-range rockets used by militants in the Gaza Strip and Hezbollah guerrillas in Lebanon.

Israel has also deployed its ‘‘Arrow’’ missile defense systems for long-range threats from Iran.

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