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Israel deploys missiles weeks after bombing Gaza lifeline tunnel

The picture taken on March 17, 2017 shows an Israeli "Iron Dome" missile system deployed in the occupied Golan Heights near the Syrian border on March 17, 2017. (By AFP)

Israel has deployed missile systems to the center of occupied territories for fear of a possible retaliatory attack, two weeks after the regime’s warplanes bombed Gaza and killed a dozen members of Palestinian resistance movements there.

The Israeli military made the announcement on Monday, but did not elaborate on where the so-called Iron Dome batteries had exactly been installed.

This is the first time such a war-like posture has been adopted by the Tel Aviv regime since 2014, when Israel launched a bloody 50-day war on the blockaded Gaza Strip.

In late October, Israeli fighter jets destroyed a lifeline tunnel in the southern part of the besieged Gaza Strip, killing 10 members of the Gaza-based Islamic Jihad resistance movement and two other fighters with the fellow Hamas resistance group.

In a video posted on YouTube on Saturday, Israeli Major General Yoav Mordechai warned Islamic Jihad that any retaliatory attack by the group “will be met with a powerful and determined Israeli response, not only against the Jihad, but also against Hamas.”

A day later, the resistance movement said in a statement on Sunday that it would not back down on its “right to respond to any aggression, including our right to respond to the crime of aggression on the resistance tunnel.”

The Israeli “threats to target the movement’s leadership is a declaration of war, which we will confront,” the statement read.

In yet another measure against Islamic Jihad, Israel arrested one of its senior leaders, identified as Tareq Qadaan, near the city of Jenin in the northern part of the occupied West Bank on Monday.

Israel claims that resistance fighters use the Gaza underground tunnels to stockpile weapons and infiltrate into the occupied lands.

They, however, say the tunnels are needed to transfer essential supplies, including food and fuel, into the Palestinian territory, which has been under a crippling Israeli siege for over a decade.

The blockade has caused a decline in living standards as well as unprecedented unemployment and poverty.

The fresh Israeli campaign of confrontation comes as Palestinian factions Fatah, based in Ramallah, and Hamas, which used to run the Gaza Strip, have reached a national unity deal designed to bridge the political rift between them and to allow Fatah to govern the coastal enclave.

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