Amid a wave of violence in the West Bank and Israel, the IDF on Tuesday deployed an Iron Dome missile defense battery in northern Israel as a precaution against possible rocket fire from Lebanon or Syria.
Iron Dome units were positioned near the northern city of Haifa, home to Israel’s largest port and home base for its navy. The army told Channel 2 that the missile defense battery was being deployed based on security assessments, but gave no specific information regarding the development.
The deployment of the anti-missile battery came shortly after a senior defense official told the press that there could be “symbolic” rocket fire at Israel from the Gaza Strip in solidarity with Palestinians in the West Bank and East Jerusalem. Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon said earlier that the defense establishment is preparing for a possible escalation of clashes.
In addition 2,000 combat soldiers were deployed to the West Bank to bolster security around settlements in the region following a fatal terror attack in the Etzion bloc area on Monday that claimed the life of 24-year-old Israeli woman.
Ya’alon urged Israeli Jews not to visit the Temple Mount for the time being, to avoid further inflaming what he called the current “escalation” in hostilities between Israel and the Palestinians and between Jews and Arabs in Israel. He said Israel was braced for a further surge in violence, but was determined to do its best to prevent that.
Declining to label the ongoing wave of violence an intifada, he nonetheless urged Israel to be on the alert for further terror attacks, a day after two Israelis were killed in two separate attacks — IDF soldier Almog Shiloni in a Tel Aviv stabbing, and Dalia Lemkus in a car-ramming and stabbing attack outside Alon Shvut in the West Bank’s Etzion Bloc of settlements.
During the summer conflict in the Gaza Strip, the Iron Dome system intercepted hundreds of rockets fired by Hamas at Israel.