IDF sends Iron Dome south following rocket attack

IDF sends Iron Dome south following rocket attack

Army partially shuts down border crossings to Gaza

Iron Dome system in action as it intercepts rockets fired from Gaza in October 2012 (photo credit: Flash90/File)
Iron Dome system in action as it intercepts rockets fired from Gaza in October 2012 (photo credit: Flash90/File)

The IDF deployed two Iron Dome batteries in southern Israel on Monday in response to Sunday’s rocket fire from Gaza.

The batteries were stationed in the Sha’ar Hanegev region and near Ashkelon. An additional anti-missile system was stationed in the far-southern city of Eilat last week. The army had placed the batteries in other parts of the country, but deployed them back to the Gaza region anticipating possible additional rocket fire in coming days.

On Sunday, Gazan terrorists fired three missiles at Israel, as the country was marking Holocaust Remembrance Day. One rocket hit an open area in the Sha’ar Hanegev region and two landed inside the Strip.

A spokesperson for the military’s Coordinator of Government Activity in the Territories, which administers the crossing between Israel and the Palestinian enclave, said the Kerem Shalom crossing would be completely shut, and the Erez crossing would be open to humanitarian cargo only, in response to the fire. A third gateway, the Karni Crossing, would not be affected.

Israel similarly closed the Kerem Shalom Crossing and partially shut the Erez Crossing last month in response to rocket fire during a visit by US President Barack Obama. The crossings were reopened after a week.

The presence of US Secretary of State John Kerry in the region for peace negotiations may have been a factor in Jerusalem deciding to respond in a nonmilitary manner.

Last week, Israeli jets dropped bombs over open areas in Gaza, in response to a volley of rockets fired at Israel. The move was seen as a warning to the Strip.

Hamas, which rules the Strip, blamed the fire on rogue groups and said it arrested a person who had launched the rockets.

Also on Monday, Egyptian authorities uncovered a munitions cache, including antitank weapons, buried in the sand of the Sinai Peninsula near the border with Israel.

The discovery took place when a large security force raided the town of al-Jora in the northern Sinai, the Palestinian news agency Ma’an reported.

The weapons were found in an underground storage room about five kilometers from the Israeli border and included 15 antitank mines, grenades and other weapons.

Egyptian security forces have been working to return law and order to the peninsula, which is thought to be home to several terror cells working to smuggle weapons into Gaza.

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