Israel deploys Iron Dome near Jerusalem
Israeli soldiers stand near an Iron Dome battery, a short-range missile defence system, designed to intercept and destroy incoming short-range rockets and artillery shells, near Jerusalem on Sunday. (AFP)
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According to an Agence France Presse correspondent, the Dome system was set up west of the city.
An Israeli military spokeswoman refused to comment on the deployment, saying only that "defence systems are deployed in accordance with situation assessments," AFP reported.
Late August, a battery of the defence system was assembled in the greater Tel Aviv area, pointing northwards towards Syria. Israeli media have reported that six or seven such batteries are currently in use, according to AFP.
Speaking at a cabinet meeting Sunday, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called Israel "an island of tranquillity, quiet and security" amidst "the storm raging around us". He did not mention Syria or its ally Iran.
In August, Netanyahu repeatedly said that although Israel is not involved in the war in Syria, it would "respond with force" if anyone attacked it, AFP reported.
The Israeli government stance on Syria was reiterated Sunday by Defence Minister Moshe Yaalon, who, at a counter-terrorism conference in Herzliya, north of Tel Aviv, said: "We are not involved in the civil war in Syria unless our interests are compromised," according to AFP.
"We are preparing for the ramification of action - or inaction - in Syria," he noted.
"To our understanding, our neighbours, especially the Syrian regime, understands that whoever challenges us will encounter the power of the IDF (Israeli military), and we are preparing for that."
Yaalon told reporters that "we held a security assessment today", and that Israel was not reverting to a heightened level of alert over the Syrian conflict.
Israel fears that if the US and its allies launch a military strike against Syria, Syrian President Bashar Assad and his regional allies, Iran and Hezollah, could retaliate against Israel. Recent reports suggest that Hezbollah and Iran are mobilising thousands of troops in preparation for a US strike on Syria.