Israel shoots down Gaza rockets, responds with air strikes

January 16, 2014
Palestinians inspect their house yard, which they said was hit in an Israeli air strike, in Gaza City
Palestinians inspect their house yard, which they said was hit in an Israeli air strike, in Gaza City January 16, 2014. REUTERS/Mohammed Salem

JERUSALEM (Reuters) - Israel's Iron Dome missile defense system intercepted five rockets fired at the city of Ashkelon from the Gaza Strip on Thursday, and the military responded with a series of air strikes on the Hamas-controlled territory.

No group has taken responsibility for firing the rockets, which were shot down by Iron Dome's small radar-guided missiles over Ashkelon, a coastal city of some 125,000 people about 12 km (seven miles) north of Gaza.

Israel says it holds the Islamist group Hamas, which has ruled the Palestinian enclave since 2007, responsible for all cross-border rocket fire.

Palestinian security officials said two Hamas camps were hit by Israel's air strikes and that five people were wounded.

(Reporting by Ari Rabinovitch and Saleh Jadallah, editing by Elizabeth Piper)