Israel deploys Iron Dome in South

Dec. 26, 2013 at 7:12 AM

BEERSHEBA, Israel, Dec. 26 (UPI) -- Preparing for a possible escalation in rocket fire from Gaza, Israel deployed Iron Dome missile batteries near Beersheba, Sderot and Ashdod, the army said.

The army early Thursday deployed an anti-missile defense battery near the port of Ashdod after deploying two batteries a day earlier near Beersheba and Sderot.

Defense Minister Moshe Ya'alon said the deployment of the batteries are part of the defense establishment's "preparation for a possible escalation," Haaretz reported.

The army's spokesmen's unit said the deployment of the batteries is in accordance with operational and training needs.

A Qassam rocket fired from Gaza exploded in the Ashkelon coastal region early Wednesday. No one was injured and no damage reported.

An Israeli worker was killed Tuesday by Palestinian sniper fire from Gaza and in retaliatory Israeli military strikes shortly after, a 3-year-old Palestinian girl in Gaza was killed.

Israel has stressed it is not seeking an escalation in violence but holds Hamas responsible for maintaining the calm and preventing attacks, the army said.

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