Israel's newest rocket interceptor, Iron Dome, was successful in its first combat use, destroying eight rockets fired from Gaza on April 7. The Iron Dome battery, a counter-rocket, artillery and mortar (C-RAM) system near Ashkelon, is one of two deployed in the northern Negev to protect population centers from rocket attacks. Multimission radar detected the launch of rockets fired at Ashkelon and triggered a “code red” alert, sending residents to shelters. Iron Dome determined in seconds that the projected impact of some rockets would be within a protected area, and launched interceptors to defeat those posing the most risk of casualties. The conflict between Israel and Hamas has escalated in recent weeks, with volleys of rockets being fired at Israeli cities. Each Iron Dome shot costs $40,000, an expense Israel considers well worth the investment when it comes to protecting life and property. In April, Defense Minister Ehud Barak requested funding for five additional batteries. The U.S. Congress, which helped finance development of the C-RAM system, approved $205 million last month for further development of the system.