IDF to move Iron Dome to Gush Dan region in weeks

Second battery of rocket defense system deployed south of Ashkelon as rocket hits south of city; IDF braces for increase in fire after Gaza strike.

April 4, 2011 20:37
1 minute read.
The Iron Dome anti-rocket defense system.

Iron Dome 311. (photo credit: REUTERS)


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The IDF will move the Iron Dome counter-rocket defense system to the Gush Dan region in the coming weeks, senior defense officials said Monday, as the air force deployed the second battery of the system in the South.

The battery was deployed south of Ashkelon as rocket attacks continued on Monday, with one rocket landing south of the seaside city. No casualties were reported in the rocket attack, which came after several days of quiet.

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The IDF had been bracing for an increase in rocket fire from the Gaza Strip after the air force bombed a car traveling in Khan Yunis Saturday morning, killing three senior Hamas operatives who, the Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency) said, had been planning attacks against Israelis in the Sinai Peninsula.

The first Iron Dome battery was deployed outside of Beersheba in late March after Hamas and Islamic Jihad fired over 100 rockets and mortar shells into Israel in under a week.

Israel plans to increase the number of operational batteries to six in the coming years, with the arrival of $205 million the Obama administration has pledged it will provide Israel to purchase additional rocket defense systems.

The Defense Ministry recently completed negotiations with Iron Dome manufacturer Rafael about the upcoming deal.

IDF sources stressed that the current deployment of the two Iron Dome batteries in the South was part of an operational evaluation that the IAF’s Air Defense Division was conducting before declaring the system combat-ready.

“The Iron Dome will provide residents of the South with good but not hermetic protection,” Brig.-Gen. Doron Gavish, commander of the Air Defense Division, said recently.

The evaluation, Gavish said, is expected to last several more weeks and will include tests of the system’s communications network and the synchronization of the battery’s various components.

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