Israeli PM: Iron Dome cannot protect every home

09:22, April 11, 2011      

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Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (C) walks with troops during his tour of one of the Iron Dome batteries in Ashkelon, Israel, April 10, 2011. The anti-rocket defense system, the Iron Dome, in intercepting projectiles fired by Gaza militants at southern Israel over the weekend may hold strategic implications in regard to threats that Israel faces on other fronts, Israeli military sources say. (Xinhua/Rafael Ben-Ari)

While the Iron Dome anti-rocket system represents an impressive technological breakthrough, the army cannot protect "every home, facility, or site in the country, " Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Sunday.

"In the end, true defense is a combination between defensive capabilities with a deterring offensive capability," Netanyahu said late Sunday during a tour of the Iron Dome's battery deployed near the southern Israeli coastal city of Ashkelon.

Addressing ministers at the weekly cabinet meeting in Jerusalem earlier in the day, Netanyahu reiterated that the system, which successfully intercepted eight projectiles fired by Gaza militants over the weekend, "is not a complete solution to the problem of Hamas' offensive against Israel."

"It is clear that it is only a partial response, and that an offensive response is also needed. From an offensive aspect, the Israel Defense Forces dealt Hamas and other terror groups massive blows in terms of lives and equipment," Netanyahu said.

The prime minister's comments came amid continued fighting along Israel's southern border with Gaza. A Grad rocket fired at Ashkelon landed in an open area, while several mortar shells were also fired from the coastal enclave.

A barrage of over 120 projectiles was fired at Israeli cities and communities over the weekend, causing no fatalities or casualties. Around 20 Palestinians were killed in Israeli retaliatory strike.

Meanwhile, the Counter-Terrorism Bureau (CTB) in the Prime Minister's Office on Sunday issued a travel warning to Israelis planning vacations abroad during the upcoming Jewish holiday of Passover, singling out the Mediterranean and the Far East. The statement did not specify which countries currently pose the highest risk.

"In the wake of events in the Gaza Strip, terrorist elements intend to perpetrate attacks against Israelis and Jews abroad ahead of -- and during -- the Passover holiday," the CTB said in statement.

It urged travelers to remain "highly sensitive and aware" at crowded tourist venues, among other tips.

The bureau last week had also issued a severe warning against travel to the Sinai Peninsula, calling on Israelis already there to return home immediately.

Source: Xinhua
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