Rocket fired at Tel Aviv, intercepted in mid-air

TEL AVIV Sat Nov 17, 2012 10:06am EST

Smoke trails are seen as a rocket is launched from the northern Gaza Strip towards Israel November 17, 2012. Palestinian militants fired a rocket at Tel Aviv on Saturday but it was intercepted in mid-air by a newly deployed Israeli anti-missile battery and caused no casualties or damage, police said. REUTERS/Ronen Zvulun

Smoke trails are seen as a rocket is launched from the northern Gaza Strip towards Israel November 17, 2012. Palestinian militants fired a rocket at Tel Aviv on Saturday but it was intercepted in mid-air by a newly deployed Israeli anti-missile battery and caused no casualties or damage, police said.

Credit: Reuters/Ronen Zvulun

TEL AVIV (Reuters) - Palestinian militants fired a rocket at Tel Aviv on Saturday but it was intercepted in mid-air by a newly deployed Israeli anti-missile battery and caused no casualties or damage, police said.

The armed wing of the Islamist Hamas movement said in Gaza that it launched a long-range Fajr-5 rocket at the city, Israel's commercial centre.

It was the third rocket attack on Tel Aviv since Israel began an air offensive in the Gaza Strip on Wednesday.

The Israeli military rushed an Iron Dome interceptor battery to the Tel Aviv area hours before the attack on Saturday. Deployment of the system came several months earlier than planned.

Witnesses saw two white plumes of smoke, the interceptor missiles, rise into the sky over the southern outskirts of Tel Aviv and heard an explosion when the rocket was hit.

Police confirmed the interception and said the rocket had not struck ground. The Magen David Adom ambulance service said there were no casualties.

(Reporting by Douglas Hamilton and Dan Williams, Writing by Jeffrey Heller, Editing by Ori Lewis)