Israel deploys Patriot missiles to counter Hezbollah threat

February 19th, 2008 - 2:19 pm ICT by admin  

Jerusalem, Feb 19 (Xinhua) Israel has deployed a battery of US-made Patriot defence missiles near the northern port city of Haifa to pre-empt possible attacks by Lebanon’s Hezbollah militants, the Ha’aretz daily reported. The battery was put on standby Sunday as part of the precautions against Hezbollah, who threatened to retaliate for the assassination of its top commander regardless of Israeli denial of involvement, the report quoted security officials as saying Monday.

This was the first military deployment since Israel’s month-long war with Hezbollah in the summer of 2006, when the Lebanese guerrillas fired nearly 4,000 rockets into northern Israel.

A Ha’aretz report Sunday said the Israeli defence establishment is concerned that Hezbollah may use an explosives-laden unmanned aerial vehicle to attack northern or central Israel.

To deal with the threat, Israeli Air Force has been placed on alert while the army has also bolstered its forces along the northern border.

Patriot batteries were first deployed in Israel during the 1991 Gulf War. Following last Tuesday’s killing of Hezbollah’s operations chief Imad Mughniyah, the Shia group’s leader Hassan Nasrallah vowed “open war” of revenge on Jewish targets.

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