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Israel's Iron Dome shield against Gaza rockets cost up to $30 million

Darren Whiteside / Reuters

An ultra-Orthodox Jewish man watches as a truck transports Iron Dome anti-missiles batteries in the southern city of Ashdod, November 17.

JERUSALEM - Israel's Iron Dome interceptions of rockets fired from Gaza during eight days of Gaza fighting cost $25 million to $30 million, the government said on Thursday, arguing the U.S.-backed system was well worth the money.

"Were Iron Dome traded on the (Tel Aviv) stock exchange or Nasdaq, it would have multiplied its share value several times over," Civil Defense Minister Avi Dichter told Israel Radio in an interview where he outlined the system's outlay.

Using radar-guided interceptor missiles, Israel's five truck-towed Iron Dome batteries shot down 421 of some 1,500 rockets launched from the Gaza Strip between November 14 and Wednesday's Egyptian-brokered truce, the military said.

How Israel's 'Iron Dome' intercepts incoming rockets

It put Iron Dome's success rate at 90 percent. To lower costs, the system engages only rockets that threaten populated areas, though it often fires two interceptor missiles at once.

The anti-missile system made in Israel and helped by American money, recognizes which rockets will hit an inhabited area and knocks them out while ignoring the others. NBC's Martin Fletcher reports.

Rockets killed 5 people in Israel and wounded dozens during the conflict, police said. Three died in coastal Ashdod on a day when Rafael Advanced Defense Systems Ltd, Iron Dome's state-owned manufacturer, said the system had suffered a malfunction.

Israel says it needs 13 batteries for satisfactory nationwide Defense. A Defense industry source put the unit cost for Israel at around $50 million.

The focus of Israel's aerial assault on Gaza were the stockpiles and launch silos of rockets imported or improvised by Hamas and other factions. Gaza medical officials said 162 Palestinians were killed, more than half of them civilians.

The most potent of those rockets were Iranian-designed Fajr-5s with 75 km (46 mile) ranges and 175 kg (385 lb) warheads, though Hamas also said it used a Gaza-made variant, "Qassam M-75".

Shops and stores are reopening and a semblance of normalcy is returning to Gaza's streets after a cease-fire between Israel and Hamas is put into effect. NBC's Ayman Mohyeldin reports from Gaza.

Iran denies supplying arms to the Palestinians. But the Iranian Young Journalists Club website on Wednesday quoted the commander of the Islamic republic's Revolutionary Guards, Mohammad Ali Jafari, saying the corps had "put the technology of Fajr-5 missiles at their (Gazans') disposal and right now a good number of these have been made and are available to them".

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