Israel Fears Imminent Conflict, Puts Military on High Alert

Israeli Defence Forces (IDF) Lieutenant-General Eli David, enters a jeep during an observation of the area where the Israeli army is excavating part of a cliff to create an additional barrier along its border with Lebanon, near the community of Shlomi in northern Israel April 6, 2016. (Reuters/Ronen Zvulun)

The Israeli military raised its alert level on Monday, taking various measures in the wake of new assessments that the Islamic Jihad will attempt a revenge attack. The leadership of the Gaza-based group is threatening revenge over Israel's bombing of a cross-border attack tunnel near Gaza two weeks ago, in which 12 members of Islamic Jihad and Hamas were killed. These measures, which are considered exceptional, included the deployment of anti-rocket Iron Dome batteries in central Israel, but not the calling up of reservists. This is the first time such measures were taken since the 2014 Gaza war ended.

The assessments regarding Islamic Jihad involve a range of possibilities on the Gaza border and further beyond. The organization controls dozens of Grad-type Katyusha rockets with a range of over 40 kilometers, capable of hitting Ashdod and Be'er Sheva, and possibly even longer-range rockets. The group also still has operational capabilities in certain areas of the West Bank, including the Jenin area, but it is unclear whether it could carry out an attack. Islamic Jihad is under pressure both from Israel's security services and the Palestinian Authority's intelligence apparatus.

To read the rest of this article, visit haaretz.com.

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