IDF deploys Patriot missile battery next to Eilat

Ahead of upcoming national holidays, army imposes general closure on West Bank, beefs up aerial defenses in south

A Patriot anti-missile system in Israel (Shay Levy/Flash90)
A Patriot anti-missile system in Israel (Shay Levy/Flash90)

The IDF deployed a Patriot missile battery in Eilat on Saturday and stationed it alongside the Iron Dome anti-missile battery in the southern city, ahead of the Memorial Day and Independence Day holidays.

According to a report on Ynet, this Patriot anti-aircraft and anti-missile installation includes an advanced radar system and replaces the older Hawk missile battery previously stationed near Israel’s southern border with Egypt and Jordan. The report said that the Patriot battery will be a permanent defensive installation, like the one located on Mount Carmel near the northern city of Haifa.

The American-made Patriot missile defense system, together with the Israeli-designed Iron Dome system, will provide Israel’s port city on the Gulf of Eilat protection from short range projectiles such as Kassam rockets, as well as longer range ballistic threats, aircraft and drones.

The IDF declined to respond to inquiries about the stationing of the Patriot battery next to Eilat, saying it would not comment on Israel’s air defense systems.

The military also announced a restriction of movement on Palestinian residents of the West Bank ahead of the beginning of two days of national mourning and celebration — the annual Memorial Day (Yom Hazikaron) for fallen soldiers and victims of terrorism, which begins Sunday night, and the 66th Independence Day (Yom Ha’atzmaut), which begins on Monday night.

According to the army spokesperson’s office, Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon decided to impose a general closure of the West Bank until Tuesday night at midnight based on security assessments.

During the closure, Palestinian movement in the area will be restricted, except for humanitarian and medical cases approved by Israel’s Civil Administration.

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