Israel has extended the use of its Iron Dome rocket interceptor system, installing it in the centre of the country for the first time. According to the Israeli Defence Forces (IDF), the Rafael-based system has been deployed northeast of Tel Aviv as part of "operational process".
The system will protect the cities of Netanya, Hadera and nearby towns, including strategic installations such as power plants.
The Iron Dome systems have undergone a significant upgrade in recent months, to expand the number of rockets they can intercept.
According to the IDF, the deployment in central Israel is part of a larger acceptance process of the new system.
The IAF is in the process of receiving the sixth Iron Dome battery from Rafael. Four additional batteries are on order.
In mid-August, an Iron Dome system deployed in Eilat, the Red Sea resort, intercepted rockets launched from the Sinai desert in Egypt. In recent months, the Iron Dome is believed to have intercepted more than 90 % of the BM-21 (Grad) and Kassam rockets that have been launched from Gaza into Israel.
Iron Dome is a mobile defence system aimed at intercepting short-range rockets and artillery shells.
The system is designed to avoid collateral damage by detonating the target warhead outside the area defended, preventing target debris from falling in that area. The system's main components include tracking radar, a battle management and weapons control unit, an interceptor with a special warhead that detonates threats from ranges up to 70 km, and a missile firing unit.