IDF Deploys Iron Dome, Prep for Possible Gaza War

After sniper fire critically wounds soldier and Hamas terrorist leader killed, IDF taking steps indicating escalation may be on the way.

Ari Yashar,

Iron Dome
Iron Dome
David Buimovitch/Flash 90

After a Bedouin IDF soldier was critically wounded on Wednesday by terrorist sniper fire from southern Gaza, the IDF lifted a gag order late Thursday acknowledging it has deployed Iron Dome missile defense batteries in Israel's south.

The two batteries were placed in the Be'er Sheva region and Netivot region, but according to Walla! the IDF didn't elaborate regarding the reason for placing the batteries at this particular junction in time at those particular locations - both of which were hard hit in Operation Protective Edge.

However, the general assessment is that the IDF is preparing for a possible escalation with Hamas after the Wednesday attack that could easily lead to another operation, which would make the fourth since 2008, a year after Hamas violently wrested control over Gaza.

The soldier was shot Wednesday while guarding Defense Ministry civilian workers fixing the security barrier with Gaza; his condition has slightly improved and he is said to be stable.

"As a result of the attack, an IDF combat soldier from the Bedouin Reconnaissance Battalion suffered a severe chest injury," an IDF statement said.

Following the sniper attack which breached the November truce ending the last operation, a heavy exchange of fire broke out with the IDF reportedly firing tank shells and attacking with IAF jets.

That strong response successfully killed Tayseer al-Ismary (33), a terrorist leader and head of the surveillance unit in Hamas's "armed wing" Al-Qassam Brigades.

Hamas blamed Israel and claimed it was not responsible for the attack, despite having total rule of Gaza.

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu warned "we hold Hamas responsible for any violation of the quiet emanating from the Gaza Strip and will act accordingly."

Intelligence Minister Yuval Steinitz (Likud) likewise said "Hamas must figure out that if it will continue to undermine the security situation on the Gaza border it risks an Israeli response, which could snowball to a general and comprehensive military operation that will involve full demolition of its military and government infrastructure alike."

Gaza terrorists fired a rocket at Israel last Friday in a breach of the truce with Israel, in at least the third such rocket attack since the ceasefire that ended Operation Protective Edge in August.

In response to the rocket attack, the IAF struck Gaza concrete factories used to rebuild the terror tunnels leading into Israel and built to attack Israeli civilians. Over 30 such tunnels were destroyed in the operation, but since it ended Hamas has been busily rebuilding them.