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IDF Chief of Staff Gantz: Iron Dome a game changer

JTA

March 14, 2012 | 10:30 am

An Iron Dome launcher fires an interceptor rocket near the southern city of Ashdod on Mar. 12. Photo by REUTERS/Nir Elias

An Iron Dome launcher fires an interceptor rocket near the southern city of Ashdod on Mar. 12. Photo by REUTERS/Nir Elias

IDF Chief of Staff Benny Gantz called the success of the Iron Dome system in intercepting incoming missiles from Gaza a “serious and historical military change.”

Speaking Tuesday night in the Israeli city of Ashdod via satellite to the New York gala dinner of the Friends of the Israel Defense Forces, Gantz also warned that if rocket fire from Gaza continues, Israel would retaliate.

A tense calm had been holding, with limited rocket fire from Gaza and no Israeli retaliation since Egyptian officials announced that they had brokered an informal truce between Israel and the Hamas regime in Gaza. In four days of fighting before the truce took effect, Iron Dome intercepted the vast majority of the long-range missiles fire from Gaza to Israeli cities, Israeli officials said. The cross-border rocket barrages began after the IDF’s killing in an airstrike of Zuhair Qaisi, leader of the Palestinian Resistance Committees.

[10 things you should know about Israel’s Iron Dome]

“Right now it’s fairly quiet, I’m pleased to say,” Gantz said Tuesday night against the backdrop of one of Iron Dome’s anti-missile batteries. “If fire will continue we will retaliate as we did before.”

A few hours after Gantz spoke, however, Israel carried out at least two airstrikes in Gaza, which IDF officials said targeted terrorist sites in response to rocket fire on Israel.

The $1,000-a-plate Friends of the IDF dinner Tuesday raised $26 million, according to organizers.

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