Israel Deploys Missile Defence System Amid Growing Tension In Gaza


Channel 2 news, citing high-ranking military officials, said the army deployed the batteries countrywide, especially in central Israel, and tightened security on the Gaza border after Islamic Jihad threatened to avenge the killing of 10 of the group's fighters when Israel destroyed a cross-border tunnel on Oct 31. Any attacks by the Islamic Jihad will elicit a strong response, not only against them, but also against Hamas.

The move is being conducted as part of the IDF's reinforcement efforts against the Gaza Strip following the Palestinian Islamic Jihad's (PIJ) threats in response to the terror tunnel strike, in which two senior-level Hamas terrorists were eliminated. The freedom tunnel is not the only tunnel owned by the Islamic Jihad.

Coordinator of Israeli Government Activities in the Occupied Territories Yoav Mordechai announced yesterday that Israel is expecting Islamic Jihad to retaliate.

Israeli officials have tried to dissuade the terror group, warning of a harsh retaliation by the IDF.

Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh also reacted to Mordechai, though with a less forceful statement as his movement focuses on following through with the Palestinian reconciliation accord.

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"We advise the leadership of the Islamic Jihad in Damascus to exercise caution and control their affairs", Mordechai said on Saturday.

The Israel Defense Forces blew up the tunnel, which originated in the Gazan city of Khan Younis and crossed into Israeli territory, near Kibbutz Kissufim, on October 30.

Earlier this month, a senior officer in the IDF's Southern Command warned that the military suspected the terror group may retaliate for the tunnel demolition with attacks on soldiers serving near the border, rocket fire at southern Israeli communities or terror attacks in the West Bank.

He said that there were those "who still amuse themselves these days by trying to renew attacks against Israel" and warned that such attacks would be dealt with harshly.

Israel has deployed several missile defence system batteries following the escalation of tensions with militant Palestinian fighters in the Gaza Strip, according to local media.