The Defense Ministry is considering deploying an Iron Dome rocket defense
battery in the Haifa Port to protect critical national infrastructure against
Hezbollah rocket attacks, Home Front Defense Minister Matan Vilna’i said on
Vilna’i revealed the deployment plans during a meeting with
Pinchas Buhris, the former director-general of the Defense Ministry and the
current CEO of Bazan Oil Refineries.
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“The continued work of the oil
refineries is critical for the Israeli economy during a time of war,” Vilna’i
Defense officials said that Vilna’i was referring to the possible
deployment of the Iron Dome in the Haifa Port on a permanent
Vilna’i recently appointed a special project manager to assist the
refineries in formulating a protective suite needed to ensure the survivability
of the facilities during a future missile attack. Bazan Oil Refineries is the
largest oil refinery in Israel and is capable of refining approximately 9.8
million tons of crude oil per year.
The IDF fears that Hezbollah will
target the refineries, which are located along the Haifa shoreline, in a future
war. During the Second Lebanon War in 2006, a number of Katyusha rockets struck
Haifa but did not succeed in hitting the refineries.
The Haifa Port is
also home to a chemical terminal which includes containers of ammonia and
Israel currently has three Iron Dome batteries deployed in
the South and a fourth is slated to be deployed in early 2012. They have
intercepted a number of rockets since the beginning of the year including during
the recent round of violence with Islamic Jihad in late October.
Advanced Defense Systems is scheduled to deliver the fourth Iron Dome battery to
the Israeli Air Force in the coming months. Since the initial deployment earlier
this year, the IAF has located a number of locations throughout the country –
including in Haifa and Tel Aviv – where it can deploy the Iron Dome according to