Israel deploys Iron Dome batteries near southern towns

Following cross-border fire, missile defenses stationed near Beersheba, Netivot; IDF spokesperson declines comment

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

The IDF deployed two Iron Dome anti-missile batteries in southern Israel, Israeli media reported Thursday, following a week which saw tensions with Gaza rise dramatically for the first time since the end of Operation Protective Edge.

Batteries were placed near the southern cities of Beersheba and Netivot, both targets of heavy rocket fire during the summer war, according to several reports.

A spokesperson for the IDF said she could not confirm the reports.

The batteries’ reported deployments came less than a week after a rocket fired from the Gaza Strip landed near an Israeli border town, causing no injuries or damage. Israel retaliated with an airstrike which Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said targeted a Hamas cement factory.

On Wednesday, a Gazan sniper shot and seriously injured an IDF soldier on patrol near the border.

Palestinian sources said that a heavy exchange of fire ensued, with IDF tank fire striking a target east of Khan Younis. Jets also fired on Gaza targets, and Palestinians said that the commander of Hamas’s surveillance unit in the area, Tayseer al-Ismary, was killed in the exchange with Israeli troops.

The Iron Dome batteries, which Israel developed to intercept rockets from the Gaza Strip and Lebanon, succeeded in intercepting roughly 90 percent of the rockets fired at Israel during last summer’s war, the IDF said.

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