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February 3, 2020 11:24 am

IDF Beefs Up Air Defenses in South, Concerned Iran Is Pressuring Islamic Jihad to Escalate Rocket Attacks

avatar by Benjamin Kerstein

An Iron Dome battery fires an interceptor missile as rockets are launched from Gaza toward Israel near the southern city of Sderot, Aug. 9, 2018. Photo: Reuters / Amir Cohen.

The IDF is deploying additional Iron Dome aerial defense batteries in southern Israel out of concern that Gaza-based Islamic Jihad, under the influence of Iran, could attempt to escalate its rocket attacks against the Jewish state.

Recent days have seen sporadic rocket, for which Islamic Jihad has been responsible. Due to the heightened tensions, Islamic Jihad leaders have gone underground, out of fear they could be targeted for assassination by Israel.

The Israeli news site Walla reported on Monday that Hamas, which rules Gaza, is afraid of being seen as a collaborator with Israel as a result of ongoing back-channel negotiations for a long-term truce. It also does not wish to appear less radical than the Palestinian Authority, which is currently denouncing US President Donald Trump’s “Deal of the Century” proposal in defiant terms.

Consequently, Hamas is permitting Islamic Jihad to fire rockets at Israel, and the IDF believes Islamic Jihad might exploit this opportunity to intensify its activities.

Furthermore, Iran is reportedly putting pressure on both Islamic Jihad and Hamas to conduct terror attacks against Israel, both to take revenge for the US assassination of the Tehran regime’s Quds Force commander Qassem Soleimani and to influence the upcoming Knesset elections.

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