The IDF deployed an Iron Dome anti-missile battery beside the southern Israeli city of Beersheba on Monday, after multiple rocket salvos were launched at Israel from the Gaza Strip over the past few weeks.
Additional missile defense units were already deployed in nearby Netivot, the Mediterranean port city of Ashdod, and Rehovot, just south of Tel Aviv.
The move came amid a spillover in infighting, as Salafist groups sympathetic to the Islamic State have sought to undermine the authority of the Hamas rulers of the Strip by firing rockets at Israel.
Israeli officials have vowed a zero-tolerance policy toward fire from the coastal enclave and indicated they hold Hamas responsible for all attacks emanating from there.
Israeli Air Force planes struck Hamas targets following the salvos, damaging infrastructure but causing no injuries.
“We’re talking about individual rockets exploding in open areas. The IDF responds with precision to every strike, but a few isolated rockets won’t spur on another major operation in Gaza,” Sami Turgeman, head of IDF’s Southern Command said Sunday, according to Hebrew media reports.
“The IDF understands that Hamas wants quiet and is making an effort to prevent the shooting, but the State of Israel still sees Hamas as responsible for what happens in Gaza,” he added.
The mayor of the embattled Gaza-border town of Sderot, Alon Davidi, said his constituents are tired of the fighting and are just looking to spend the upcoming summer in peace.
“We demand that the steady drip of rockets fire will not become a permanent feature,” Davidi said, according to the Israel Hayom daily.
“Summer and the summer holidays are on our doorstep, and the memory of Operation Protective Edge is still fresh, so more than anyone, we want answers and solutions so that our kids will [enjoy] the summer without rockets and without war,” he said.