Israeli media reports the country's powerful missile defense system known as Iron Dome was engaged early Monday morning to shoot down a rocket fired from the Gaza Strip at the southern town of Ashkelon.
A second rocket struck an unpopulated region outside the town. There were no injuries from either strike. The Israeli air force responded by targeting two concealed rocket launchers in the northern Gaza Strip.
The reported rockets came a day after mortar shells from the Gaza Strip also landed in southern Israel, and almost a year after a protracted engagement between Hamas and Israel that served as the first public test of the Iron Dome defensive system.
"This targeted strike, based on IDF intelligence and advanced air force capabilities, is an immediate response to the terrorist aggression and its infrastructure in Gaza," said Israeli Lt. Col. Peter Lehner, a spokesman for the Israeli Defense Forces, early Monday. "Hamas must take responsibility for these actions or pay the price for inaction."
"We will continue to safeguard the civilians of the State of Israel, and prevent future attempts of terrorism formulating in the Gaza Strip," he said.
The IDF tweeted news of the strikes on Monday. Roughly 113,000 civilians live in Ashkelon, it said, who were "abruptly awakened this morning by a siren due to Gaza rocket fire."
This morning rockets were fired from the Gaza Strip towards #Israel. One rocket was intercepted by the Iron Dome above the city of Ashkelon— IDF (@IDFSpokesperson) October 28, 2013
IDF also tweeted a graphic it says depicts the likelihood of Gaza rocket strikes targeting Israeli towns by proximity.
Lebanese news service the Daily Star reports the last projective fired at Israel from Gaza occurred on Sept. 28.
Hamas and the Israeli military engaged in escalating fighting in November 2012. In five days, Hamas fired 877 rockets into Israel, according to IDF. The Iron Dome system, which had just been unveiled to the public, intercepted 307 of those. Part of the defense missile system's hardware includes determining if a rocket will fall into an unoccupied area and is therefore not worth targeting.
Israel responded to the attacks by launching Operation Pillar of Defense against Hamas. Iron Dome was 85 percent effective at repelling enemy rockets and missiles during that operation, the Israeli ambassador to the U.S. told U.S. News in November.
Each Iron Dome interceptor missile costs roughly $50,000.