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Middle East
Israel positions Iron Dome on Egypt border
Decision on air-defence system, designed to intercept and destroy rockets, follows two attacks on Eilat town.
Last Modified: 20 Aug 2012 13:31
Israeli authorities say two blasts rocked the city of Eilat on Wednesday [GALLO/GETTY]

The Israeli army has deployed an Iron Dome air-defence system, designed to intercept and destroy rockets, just days after two rockets were fired at the town of Eilat near the border with Egypt, according to a military spokeswoman.

The Iron Dome is a mobile, all-weather air-defence system for countering short-range rockets fired from distances of 4-70km away whose trajectory would take them to a populated area.

"An Iron Dome battery has been deployed in the town of Eilat as part of tests, momentarily modifying the sites where these systems are deployed," the spokeswoman said on Monday but did not give further details.

The system was created as a defensive countermeasure to the rocket threat against Israel's civilian population on its northern and southern borders.

It was declared operational and initially deployed on March 27, 2011, near Beersheba in southern Israel. On April 7, 2011, the system successfully intercepted a rocket launched from blockaded Gaza Strip for the first time.

An Islamist group claimed responsibility for the two rocket attacks aimed at Eilat, Israel's Red Sea resort town, SITE Intelligence Group reported on Thursday.

A group calling itself Ansar Jerusalem claimed to be responsible for firing "two Grad rockets into the city" which it said hit "inhabited targets", in a statement posted on online jihadist forums, the US-based monitoring agency said.

Israeli police said two blasts rocked the city on Wednesday.

Debris of the rockets, which were apparently fired from Egypt's Sinai Peninsula, were later found.

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