Israel's Iron Dome anti-missile system intercepts rockets launched from the Gaza Strip, amid the ongoing conflict between Israel and the Palestinian Islamist group Hamas, as seen from Ashkelon, Israel, January 15, 2024. That defence system costs roughly $50,000 per launch. Image Credit: REUTERS

JERUSALEM: Israel for the first time deployed its ship-mounted defence system, called the C-Dome, against a “suspicious” target that entered the country’s airspace near the southern city of Eilat, the military said on Tuesday.

The C-Dome is a naval version of the Iron Dome air defence system used to shield against rocket and missile attacks.

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On Monday evening, the Israel Defence Forces (IDF) reported an alert in the area of Eilat, which was targeted in February by intercepted ballistic missile fire from Yemen’s Al Houthi militants, allies of Palestinian group Hamas.

“Following the sirens that sounded in the area of Eilat regarding the infiltration of a hostile aircraft, IDF Naval forces identified a suspicious aerial target crossing into Israeli territory,” the IDF said in a statement released early Tuesday.

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“The target was successfully intercepted by the ‘C-Dome’ naval defence system,” it said.

No injuries or damage were reported.

An IDF spokesperson would not confirm whether the “suspicious” target had been a drone but told AFP this was “the first operational use of C-Dome”.

Mounted on Sa’ar 6-class corvettes, German-made warships, the C-Dome uses the same interceptor as the Iron Dome, according to state-owned operator Rafael Advanced Defence Systems.

The land-based Iron Dome has been used countless times to intercept rockets fired from the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip.

That defence system costs roughly $50,000 per launch.