Iron Dome downs five rockets headed for Ashkelon

3 additional projectiles from the Gaza Strip land in open areas; IAF retaliates with airstrikes, reportedly injuring 5 Palestinians

The Iron Dome missile defense system in action, November 15, 2012 (photo credit: Uri Lenz/Flash90)
The Iron Dome missile defense system in action, November 15, 2012 (photo credit: Uri Lenz/Flash90)

The Iron Dome missile defense system shot down five rockets that were fired from the Gaza Strip in the direction of Ashkelon overnight Wednesday.

Three additional rockets landed in open areas outside the southern Israeli city. No injuries or damage were reported.

In response to the late-night barrage, the Israeli Air Force conducted airstrikes on four sites in northern Gaza, including a hidden rocket launcher, a weapons storage site and a weapons manufacturing facility. The IDF Spokesperson’s Unit reported direct hits on all targets.

“The IDF response was precise, swift and efficient in eliminating terror capabilities that only exist in order to terrorize, kill and maim Israelis,” read a statement by Lt. Col. Peter Lerner, who later linked to footage of Iron Dome intercepting the rockets:

Palestinian medical sources cited by Ynet said a woman and four children were injured as a result of the strikes.

Warning sirens wailed in Ashkelon shortly before 2 a.m. local time, alerting residents to quickly find shelter.

Southern Israeli cities in proximity to Gaza were the targets of constant rocket fire for years before Operation Pillar of Defense in November 2012. Rocket fire from the Strip was reduced dramatically following the 8-day Israeli military campaign.

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On Monday, two rockets were fired from Gaza at the western Negev just as the funeral of former prime minister Ariel Sharon was finishing. The rockets fell in an open area near the border fence, in the Sha’ar Hanegev regional council.

There were no injuries or damage reported.

Security officials had expressed concerns that Gaza militants might target the Sharon funeral, and the military moved Iron Dome batteries to the area in order to protect the high-profile event.

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