Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (C) walks with troops during his tour of one of the Iron Dome batteries in Ashkelon, Israel, April 10, 2011. The anti-rocket defense system, the Iron Dome, in intercepting projectiles fired by Gaza militants at southern Israel over the weekend may hold strategic implications in regard to threats that Israel faces on other fronts, Israeli military sources say. (Xinhua/Rafael Ben-Ari)
by Adam Gonn
JERUSALEM, April 11 (Xinhua) -- Israel last week deployed for the first time Iron Dome anti-rocket systems in southern the country where cities and communities were attacked by rockets and mortar shells fired from the Gaza Strip.
In response to the rocket attack, Israel has conducted several airstrikes against Gaza over the last week, which left some 18 Palestinians dead, but the government has been under pressure from its citizens, especially those living in areas often targeted by Gaza militants, to deploy the systems.
After the successful deployment of two batteries, Israel now plans to purchase more Iron Dome anti-rocket systems.
Local analysts believe that the main advantage of the Iron Dome is that the system will give Israel more options when dealing with the threats from Gaza.
Zaki Shalom, a researcher at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, told Xinhua that since Iron Dome has passed its first field test, it will give Israel more choices in dealing with the threats from Gaza.
"It gives us wider maneuvering ability: we don't have to react in an aggressive manner every time. We now have a very efficient defense system," Shalom said.
The system considerably alleviates the public pressure on Israeli government, he said, adding "they used to press the government to act forcefully against Hamas."
Ely Karmon, a senior researcher at the Institute for Counter- Terrorism at the Inter-Disciplinary Center in Herzliya, told Xinhua that "the Iron Dome will be an important defense asset."