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Israel deploying anti-rocket system

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Israeli soldiers stand near the Iron Dome, a new anti-rocket system, stationed near the southern city of Beersheba, Israel, March 27, 2011. The Israeli Defense Force deployed the $200 million Iron Dome system in response to dozens of rockets fired by Palestinian militants from Gaza in the past weeks. The Iron Dome is meant to protect Israeli towns from rockets fired from Gaza. UPI/Debbie Hill | <a href="/News_Photos/lp/abf82e70effbd52a82bf6f7e8df6c67d/" target="_blank">License Photo</a>
Israeli soldiers stand near the Iron Dome, a new anti-rocket system, stationed near the southern city of Beersheba, Israel, March 27, 2011. The Israeli Defense Force deployed the $200 million Iron Dome system in response to dozens of rockets fired by Palestinian militants from Gaza in the past weeks. The Iron Dome is meant to protect Israeli towns from rockets fired from Gaza. UPI/Debbie Hill | License Photo

JERUSALEM, April 4 (UPI) -- Israel has deployed Iron Dome anti-rocket batteries near Beersheba and at Ashkelon in the past week, officials said.

Plans are for the system to be used at various locations in the country, including Tel Aviv, Ynetnews com reported.

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The battery in the southern port city of Ashkelon was deployed Monday, the Web site said.

Last week, military officials told Maariv the army would have preferred to delay the deployment of the system but because of an escalation in rocket fire on Israel it was decided to place the first battery near Beersheba.

At the time, Defense Minister Ehud Barak said the system would be tested over a period of weeks and deployed in different areas of the country "according to the need."

The Iron Dome defense system uses radar to track incoming rockets and intercepts and destroys them far from their targets, officials said. The system was developed by an Israeli company and underwent a number of successful tests earlier this year, they said.

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