IDF deploys Iron Dome batteries to south in fear of more rocket fire

Army bracing for further salvoes from IS-linked group in Gaza, though it says Hamas is trying to stop the attacks and doesn’t want another war

An Iron Dome missile-defense system. (photo credit: Flash90)
An Iron Dome missile-defense system. (photo credit: Flash90)

The IDF deployed at least two Iron Dome anti-missile batteries in southern Israel on Friday, two days after three rockets were launched at Israel from the Gaza Strip.

One missile defense unit was stationed near the Mediterranean port city of Ashdod and another placed near the southern city of Netivot. Israel’s Channel 10 also referred to a third battery stationed near Ashkelon.

The move came a day after Israeli Air Force planes struck Hamas targets in the Gaza Strip following rocket fire at Israel claimed by a Salafist group sympathetic to the Islamic State. The rockets caused neither damage nor injury.

Israeli military sources said they were concerned that the IS-linked group was again threatening to target Israel because of its internal Gaza dispute with Hamas, which has arrested several of its members.

“Hamas is trying to prevent rocket fire at Israel,” Channel 10 quoted a military source as saying, and the IDF’s assessment is that Hamas does not want a descent into war and that there is a “reasonable chance that the summer will pass quietly, it added.

Nonetheless, the deployment of the Iron Dome batteries underlined that the IDF was taking no chances, following last summer’s 50-day war with Hamas and other Gaza terror groups.

Israeli Air Force planes bombed three “terrorist infrastructure” targets in Gaza early on Thursday, shortly after rockets fired from the Hamas-controlled territory hit southern Israel late Wednesday.

The IDF confirmed three airstrikes on “terrorist infrastructure” in the Gaza Strip that scored direct hits. Hamas media reports said one airstrike targeted a Hamas military training ground in the central Gaza Strip and another hit targets in the southern city of Khan Yunis. No injuries were reported.

IDF Spokesman Lt. Col. Peter Lerner said in a statement that the Israeli military “will act against the aggression, will act against those that wish to terrorize Israel and will act to protect Israelis in the line of indiscriminate Gaza rocket fire.”

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