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Israel deploys ‘Iron Dome’ near Gaza border

A missile from the Israeli Iron Dome, launched during the Operation Pillar of Defense to intercept a missile coming from the Gaza strip. (IDF/Flickr and WikiMedia Commons)
July 09, 2018

Israel deployed several Iron Dome air defense batteries on Thursday near the northern and southern sectors of the Gaza Strip border.

The Iron Dome is an air defense system that has been in operation since 2011. The decision for the deployment was made after an assessment by the Southern Command.

Military officials have continued to test the systems to ensure their readiness for immediate deployment.

“Homa [missile defense] will continue to develop the Iron Dome system in order to deal with the emerging threats in the arena in order to best protect the State of Israel,” a Ministry of Defense official said in a statement.

Since the beginning of this year, Palestinians have fired nearly 300 rockets into Israel, which is a record number and an indication that tensions are on the rise.

The Israel Defense Force (IDF) has been responding to the rockets by carrying out strikes in the Gaza Strip.

The strikes have been specifically targeting vehicles that are being used by terrorist cells that attempt to launch aerial devices into Israel.

In late June, the Iron Dome missile defense system managed to intercept seven projectiles that were launched into Israel by Hamas.

“The IDF is prepared for several scenarios and ready to defend the citizens of the states of Israel and its sovereignty,” an IDF spokesperson said.

Since its introduction, the Iron Dome system has intercepted nearly 90 percent of the missiles that have targeted populated areas. The system has a large range and can stop missiles that are up to 43 miles away.

Analysts believe that the recent relocation of the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem is one of the reasons why Palestinian aggression has increased. Since the start of the Embassy relocation protests, Israeli troops have killed 135 Palestinians who attempted to cause harm to innocent civilians.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu defended the IDF’s actions during a recent military ceremony.

“Every country has an obligation to defend its borders. The Hamas terrorist organization declares it intends to destroy Israel and sends thousands to breach the border fence in order to achieve this goal,” Netanyahu said.

Due to the increased violence, “it’s not surprising that IDF’s Southern Command is preparing for [a] possible escalation. But Israel is not interested in escalation. Although no side seems interested in major escalation, the situation in Gaza – humanitarian, economic, political – is explosive and could deteriorate further quickly. The deployment of additional Iron Dome batteries should thus be viewed as precaution,” said Shira Efron, a RAND Corporation associate policy researcher.