The Israel Defense Forces on Wednesday deployed a third Iron Dome anti-rocket battery outside the city of Ashdod.

"The deployment [near Ashdod] is part of a national emergency plan which I announced several weeks ago and is a concrete expression of defending Israel's residents from rockets and missiles," Defense Minister Ehud Barak said.

Ashdod Mayor Dr. Yehiel Lasri said that "the deployment of the Iron Dome in Ashdod at the start of the school year is good news and provides a sense of security to [Ashdod] residents."

During the recent round of escalation in the south, two other Iron Dome batteries in the Be'er Sheva and Ashkelon areas successfully intercepted more than 20 Grad missiles fired from the Gaza Strip.

On Monday, Barak said that nine Iron Dome batteries would be deployed within the next two years.