Israel’s military has been quietly bracing for another missile war with the Gaza Strip.
Military sources said this time the Hamas regime in the Gaza Strip could be joined by the Iranian-sponsored Hizbullah. They said Hizbullah, with an estimated 60,000 weapons, was capable of firing salvos of missiles and rockets both from Lebanon as well as Syria.
“There is now another round [of fighting] every two months, and over the last few years our deterrence has undergone diversions,” Col. Eran Kochav, a senior Israel Air Force officer, said. “I don’t want to say that the deterrence has eroded.”
Addressing Aerospace 2012 on Nov. 20, Kochav, a leading officer in the Air Defense Command, warned against Israeli reliance on its missile and rocket defense systems. He said the performance of Iron Dome during the current war with the Gaza Strip was “phenomenal,” but added that the next round of fighting could be different.
“I advise my military colleagues to be modest [about Iron Dome],” Kochav said. “These systems are not hermetic.”
Military sources said the intensive attacks from the Gaza Strip have been straining the air force arsenal of Iron Dome interceptors. They said Iron Dome manufacturer, the state-owned Rafael Advanced Defense Systems, has been working 24 hours a day to replenish supplies of the Tamir interceptor.
Iron Dome was said to have intercepted between 85 and 90 percent of the missiles and rockets that threatened targets in Israel. The air force has deployed five Iron Dome batteries, the latest which intercepted several Iranian-origin Fajr-5 long-range rockets.
Still, Kochav, reflecting the assessment of the military, said Israel must expect a multi-front missile war. He did not cite Hizbullah, which has refrained from joining Hamas in the current war.
“The challenges are ahead of us, and there will be less successful days,” Kochav said. “Everybody is focused on Gaza, but we preparing for multiple fronts.”