Iron Dome battery deployed in Eilat
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Iron Dome battery deployed in Eilat

As tensions rise in the Sinai, IDF boosts southern city’s protection for fear of rocket attacks

The Iron Dome missile defense system in action, November 15, 2012 (photo credit: Uri Lenz/Flash90)
The Iron Dome missile defense system in action, November 15, 2012 (photo credit: Uri Lenz/Flash90)

As tensions continued to rise in the Sinai Peninsula, the IDF on Friday deployed an Iron Dome air defense battery in Eilat, boosting the southern city’s protection for fear of rocket attacks.

The last-minute deployment was spurred by developments in Egypt, where the military continued its offensive against terrorist activities in the porous Sinai area, which borders the Gaza Strip.

The southern city’s Code Red alert system was recently connected to the detection system along Israel’s border with Egypt, enabling a warning to sound upon the detection of a rocket headed toward it.

Two Kassam rockets were fired from the Gaza Strip into Israel Thursday night, shattering several weeks of calm in the south. Both rockets hit open areas in the Eshkol Region. There were no reports of injuries or damage.

The rocket fire came as talks over restarting peace negotiations between Israel and the Palestinian Authority intensified.

Meanwhile in Egypt, still reeling from the most recent stage of the country’s rocky revolution, the military under the new Cairo government continued its crackdown on terrorist elements in the Sinai Peninsula.

Egypt now has 11 infantry battalions deployed in the Sinai, as well as a tank battalion and assault helicopters — all dispatched with Israel’s formal approval, as required by the 1979 Camp David Accords.

Since the military deposed the Islamist president Mohammed Morsi on July 3, militant groups have lashed out with increased violence. The peninsula has seen several recent attacks, assassination attempts and kidnappings. In the past two weeks, at least nine Egyptian security officers have been killed in battles with gunmen.

Egypt’s interim President, Adly Mansour, pledged Thursday to protect his country against those who seek chaos and violence in the aftermath of the popularly backed military coup that brought him to power.

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