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Tel Aviv gets missile defence amid Syria fears: media

Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu said Israel had deployed its Iron Dome system to meet its 'current security needs'

AFP , Friday 30 Aug 2013
An Israeli soldier is seen next to an Iron Dome rocket interceptor battery deployed near the northern Israeli city of Haifa, Wednesday, Aug. 28, 2013 (Photo: AP)
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Israel deployed its Iron Dome missile defence system in Tel Aviv on Friday, as the United States weighed military strikes on neighbouring Syria, local media said.

Army radio said that a battery of the mobile system was set up during the morning in the greater Tel Aviv area.

News website Ynet said that unlike last November when the interceptor missiles brought down rockets fired from Gaza, to the south, this time they were pointing north, toward Syria.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Thursday said Israel had deployed its Iron Dome system to meet its current security needs.

He did not specify where, but media reported earlier in the week that the military was moving two of its short-range Iron Dome batteries and one battery of the mid-range Patriot missile to northern Israel.

"We have decided to deploy Iron Dome and other interceptors," Netanyahu said Thursday night in a statement as he went into security talks at the defence ministry in Tel Aviv.

"We are not involved in the war in Syria. But I repeat: if anyone tries to harm Israeli citizens, the Israeli army will respond with force," Netanyahu said in other remarks broadcast by Israeli television.

There are fears that if the United States and its allies launch military strikes on Syria, forces of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad or its Lebanese Hezbollah proxies could retaliate against next-door Israel, Washington's key ally in the region.

A poll published by Maariv newspaper on Friday showed 77 percent of respondents saying that if Washington decides not to strike Assad's regime Israel should not take unilateral military action.

Eleven percent, however, did think that Israel should launch a strike if nobody else was prepared to do so.

Twelve percent had no opinion according to the poll of 519 people, which had a margin of error of 4.5 percentage points.

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