Residents and analysts of Gaza anguish over the prospects of another Israeli onslaught.
A joint US-Israeli missile interceptor meant to counter medium-range missiles has become operational, completing Israel’s multi-layer defence system amid tensions on its frontiers with Lebanon’s Hezbollah, Syria and the ruling group of the Gaza Strip, Hamas.
The medium-range interceptor, which became active on Sunday, was developed with US backing and is designed to fill the gap between the longer-range Arrow missile defence system and the shorter-range Iron Dome interceptor.
David’s Sling was developed by Israeli defence firm, Rafael, with American defence giant, Raytheon.
One is Lebanon’s Hezbollah, with which it fought a devastating 2006 war.
The Israeli military believes Hezbollah today has between 100,000 and 120,000 short- and medium-range missiles and rockets, as well as several hundred long-range missiles, with the medium-range missiles capable of reaching Tel Aviv.
Israel is also on alert in the south of the country after Gaza’s Hamas rulers accused it of assassinating a member of the group.
An annual intelligence assessment found that both Hezbollah and Hamas are probably not interested in sparking a war in 2017, but it warned of the danger of a dynamic of escalation leading to conflict.
In February, Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah said Hezbollah was not seeking a resumption of hostilities. But he vowed that if war did begin, his forces would strike Israel’s Dimona nuclear facilities.