IDF deploys Iron Dome battery in central Israel
The IDF stationed a battery of the Iron Dome shield in the Gush Dan region of central Israel as part of an aerial defense exercise against a simulated rocket attack on greater Tel Aviv.
The IDF emphasized that the drill is not operational in nature, but merely a technical test planned in advance, aimed at practicing rapid deployment of the system.
Nevertheless, the exercise is an indication of preparations by the military for additional confrontations with Gazan terror organizations.
During future fighting, terrorists will likely fire longer-range rockets from Gaza into central Israel, security forces believe.
"The Iron Dome is in the process of being integrated operationally," the IDF Spokesman Unit said in an official statement. "From time to time, it is deployed in various sties around the country. During these days... it is being stationed in Gush Dan," the statement added.
On Sunday, a senior police commander told The Jerusalem Post that police were preparing for the eventuality of long-range Palestinian rockets falling in places they have not yet reached.
"We assume that in the next round, some rockets will fall in central Israel," Cmdr. Bentsi Sao, head of the central district, said.
During the recent escalation with Palestinian terror groups, a couple of rockets slammed into territory that falls under the police's central district, while the remainder fell in the southern district.
The southern district is well-accustomed to rapidly dispatching bomb squad units to the sites of rocket explosions after gaining over a decade of experience in dealing with the attacks.
But as rocket ranges grow, the police's central district has found itself needing to prepare for rockets as well.
Sao said his district is now working with the IDF's Home Front Command in anticipation of rockets that could strike central Israeli areas.
Meanwhile, the website of Islamic Jihad in Gaza carried an interview with terrorists responsible for the firing of rockets at Israel, in which operatives boasted of firing rockets into major southern Israeli cities this month.
"We said... we would expand the range of rocket fire - and we hit Ashdod, Ofakim, Kiryat Gat, Kiryat Malachi," said one of the operatives, according to a Channel 2 report.