The Iron Dome missile defense system is a sophisticated platform designed to intercept rockets launched at Israel–a project that is only a few years old, and made possible thanks to more than $200 million in special defense funds from the US.

On April 7, 2011, the defense system successfully intercepted its first missile, when Gaza launched a rocket at the Jewish state, aimed for Ashkelon. The interception led to an Israeli Air Force mission, targeting a terror cell in the Strip. The very next day, the Iron Dome intercepted three more rockets.

In the years that have followed, the Iron Dome project has widened, with batteries littering Israel’s cities and towns, from the small, rocket-ravaged areas in the south, to the bustling metropolises, like Tel Aviv and Jerusalem.

In November 2012, the Iron Dome system was crucial in fending off attacks during Operation Pillar of Defense. For the first time in decades, missiles out of Gaza came within reach of Tel Aviv and the capital, leading to the deployment of even more Iron Dome batteries.

The IDF estimates that the system has intercepted hundreds of missiles since its first deployment.