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IDF Deploys Iron Dome Battery to Defend Eilat

The IDF has placed an Iron Dome battery near Eilat, after recent reports of missile attacks by Islamist groups against the city
By David Lev
First Publish: 7/19/2013, 1:41 PM

Iron Dome in action (file)
Iron Dome in action (file)
Israel news photo: Flash 90

After Israel gave its consent last week to allow Egyptian military forces into Sinai in order to pursue Islamists, the IDF has placed an Iron Dome battery near Eilat. Last weekend, several rockets were reportedly fired at Israel's southernmost city as Islamist groups, fleeing Egyptian troops, took refuge in remote areas of the Sinai near Israel's border, and took the opportunity to attack Israeli targets.

With the summer tourist season in full swing and Eilat hotels and resorts packed to capacity, the last thing the army and government needs is a panicky run for the exits if Sinai terror groups decided to attack again – hence the placement of the Iron Dome system, which has been proven to intercept the type of short-range Kassam rockets and missiles that Sinai terrorists have fired at Israel.

With the full entry of the Egyptian army into Sinai, Israeli officials believe that the Islamist groups will vent their anger against Israel for assenting to the Egyptian deployment by attacking Eilat. Under the Camp David Accords, both Israel and the U.S. must agree to the deployment of military troops in Sinai, which is supposed to remain a demilitarized zone.

Egypt has already sent several brigades of troops into Sinai, but military officials say much more force is needed, as the soldiers are facing heavily armed terror groups affiliated with Al Qaeda. Riots have broken out several times in recent weeks in the central Sinai town of El Arish, with Islamists facing off against Egyptian security officers, with members of the Muslim Brotherhood and other groups fleeing Cairo and Alexandria in recent days as the army clamps down on their movements, in the wake of the deposing of former President Mohammed Morsi.