The apparent overreaction of Iron Dome defenses to Gaza machine gun fire on Sunday night was neither a human error nor a technical malfunction, according to IDF officials.
The army confirmed that 20 interceptors were launched, even though no rockets had been fired against Israel and air defenses were unnecessary.
“There was neither a human nor technical error,” Brig. Gen. Tzvika Haimovitch told reporters.
“There was a system over-sensitivity, and we had five seconds to decide. The moment something is launched from the ground toward Israeli territory, we consider that a threat,” he said.
In other words, the Iron Dome system had been over-calibrated and misidentified the automatic weapons fire as rocket projectiles, which it resembled to Iron Dome sensors.
“We don’t take chances as it relates to threats to Israeli citizens and property,” he said.
However, at a cost of approximately $50,000 per interceptor, it was an expensive over-calibration, aside from the disruption of sending thousands of residents in southern Israel rushing into bomb shelters shortly before midnight.
In addition, the IDF retaliated to the false alarm with tank fire at two Hamas positions in the northern Gaza Strip, the army said.
In a statement which seemed to be aimed at criticism of the army’s response, the IDF said it “takes seriously all types of fire aimed at Israeli territory,” and that it was justified even though it turned out to be bullets and not rockets coming from Gaza.