Defense Minister Ehud Barak on Friday confirmed that he authorized the deployment of the Iron Dome missile defense system.

Speaking during a tour of the Gaza region, Barak said: "I authorized the IDF in the coming days to authorize the first operational deployment of Iron Dome batteries, here in the southern region."

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The test deployment, he said, "will continue for several weeks and the layout will vary with operational needs."

The defense minister praised Iron Dome's technology, calling it an "extraordinary development" by the defense industry. He cautioned, however, that it does not provide a 100 percent solution to the rocket threat.

The Iron Dome system will be part of the IDF's solution to the barrage of rockets fired into southern Israel from Gaza in the last week, a statement from the IDF spokesperson said.

Iron Dome is designed to defend against rockets at a range of 4-70 km and each battery consists of a multi-mission radar manufactured by Israel Aerospace Industries and three launchers, each equipped with 20 interceptors named Tamir.

The defense minister also praised the IDF's operations in the southern region. "The IDF is doing a very good job - very professional and creative, with [good] results, along the border and in the Gaza Strip itself," he said.

"Terror organizations in the Strip took a hard hit during the last 10 days," Barak said, adding that the groups had lost fighters during that period.

He noted that "some 100 rockets and mortars  that reached communities further [from the Strip] than usual" were hit, including Beersheba, Ashdod, Sderot, Ashkelon, and the Gaza border-region communities. "We have no intention to allow terrorist organizations to renew the situation and breaking the status quo," he said. The defense minister added, "We will act as it is needed to return the operations back to the [border] line itself."

"I don't recommend to Hamas or Islamic Jihad to attempt and return us to the situation when [rockets] were fired at areas deep into the country and at communities in the border region."

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