Israel Shoots Down Rocket Headed for Resort Town

'Iron Dome' protects Eilat for first time

By Newser Editors and Wire Services

Posted Aug 13, 2013 6:53 AM CDT | Updated Aug 13, 2013 8:08 AM CDT

(Newser) – The Israeli military shot down a rocket launched toward a Red Sea resort town near the border with Egypt today, the army said. It was the first time Israel's Iron Dome missile defense system successfully intercepted a rocket attack on the resort of Eilat, the military said. The incident came after days of heightened tension along the Egypt-Israel border. An al-Qaeda-inspired militant group based in Egypt's Sinai Peninsula, Ansar Jerusalem, claimed responsibility for the rocket in an email to the AP.

The little-known group is hostile to both Israel and Egypt and was behind an attack in August 2011 near Eilat that killed eight people. In Cairo, Egypt's state MENA news agency quoted an unnamed security official as saying authorities could not confirm that the rocket was launched from Sinai. Most Iron Dome batteries have been deployed along Israel's border with Gaza, and the missile-defense system intercepted rockets during Israel's fighting with Gaza militants in 2012. Other batteries have been placed on Israel's border with Lebanon.

A file photo of the Red Sea resort city of Eilat, Israel.
A file photo of the Red Sea resort city of Eilat, Israel.   (AP Photo/Ariel Schalit, File)
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