Israel deploys air defense missiles battery in fear of Hizbullah attack
Israel has deployed a battery of U.S.-made Patriot air defense missiles near the northern port city of Haifa as part of precautions against a possible attack by Hizbullah in response to the assassination last week of the Shiite movement's top military commander Imad Mughniyah, Israeli security officials said Monday.
According to Haaretz newspaper and news agencies, the officials said the battery was put on standby Sunday for the first time since Israel's 2006 summer war with Hizbullah.
Patriot batteries were originally designed to intercept aircraft, and Israeli media reported their role in the current situation would be to shoot down bomb-laden pilotless planes as well as rockets.
On Sunday, Israel's Defense Minister Ehud Barak said his country is prepared on all fronts for an attack.
Following Mughniyeh's assassination, Hizbullah vowed to hit Jewish and Israeli targets outside the region.
On Sunday, Hizbullah's senior official at the southern Lebanon region Sheikh Nabil Kauk said "It won't be long before the conceited Zionists realize that Imad Mughniyah's blood is extremely costly, and it makes history and brings about a new victory." Kauk added that Israel was "standing on one leg of fear and trepidation, having become the hostage of its own act of stupidity."
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