Israel said on Wednesday it would deploy a battery of Iron Dome rocket interceptors at a southern frontier town opposite Egypt, a move that follows cross-border attacks in the area.
Israeli media reported that it was the first time the interceptors, which have been used against Palestinian rocket attacks from the Gaza Strip, were being set up at Eilat, near Israel’s borders with Egypt and Jordan.
An Israeli military spokeswoman said the battery “will be placed near Eilat as part of an operational deployment programme which includes changing the locations of the batteries from time to time.”
An official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the interceptors were set up near Eilat on Monday.
Iron Dome, a system produced locally with U.S. funding, uses radar-guided missiles to blow up Katyusha-style rockets with ranges of 5-70 km (3-45 miles) and mortar bombs in mid-air.
Israel’s border with Egypt has grown tense since a popular uprising ousted Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak last year. Two rockets fired across the frontier have struck in the Eilat area this year, without causing casualties. Egypt has denied they were shot from its territory.
Last month an unidentified gunman crossed Egypt’s Sinai border and killed an Israeli worker. Eight Israelis died in another cross-border attack in that area in August.
Egypt was the first Arab country to sign a peace accord with Israel, in 1979, followed by Jordan in 1994.
Concerns have arisen about how the peace will fare under Egypt’s new president, the Muslim Brotherhood’s Mohamed Mursi, although he pledged when he took office last month to uphold his country’s treaties. DM
Photo: An Iron Dome launcher fires an interceptor rocket near the southern city of Ashdod March 11, 2012. REUTERS/Baz Ratner
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