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Anti-missile system deployed in coastal Israeli town

Israeli soldiers patrol near an Iron Dome defence system in the Israeli-annexed Golan Heights, on January 20, 2015
Jack Guez (AFP/File)
Concern about Islamic Jihad rockets from Gaza after Palestinian activist re-arrested and resumed hunger strike

Israel deployed an anti-missile defense system in the coastal Mediterranean town of Ashdod on Thursday amid concern that the Islamic Jihad might fire rockets at Israel after one of its members was re-arrested.  

Mohammed Allaan, a Palestinian West Bank lawyer active in the organization, was returned to prison Wednesday after being released from an Israeli hospital where he was recovering from a two-month hunger strike. To protest his renewed arrest, Allaan resumed his hunger strike.

The Israel Defense Forces Southern Command confirmed that Allaan's arrest was the reason for the decision to deploy the Iron Dome battery in Ashdod, but explained this was just a preemptive measure and that rocket fire was not anticipated. 

This is the second such deployment in less than a month. On Aug. 20 Iron Dome was brought to Ashdod after Islamic Jihad warned that it would launch rockets at Israeli targets if Allan were to die of his hunger strike.

Allaan launched his hunger strike to protest his jailing last November without trial under what is known as an administrative detention order.

But as his condition continued to deteriorate in August and he was hospitalized, Israel's Supreme Court temporarily lifted the detention order, and the state agreed to release him. 

His re-arrest was reportedly based on intelligence information, the nature of which has not been revealed.

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