Israel shoots town Hamas drone

Israeli soldiers stand near the southern Israeli border with the Gaza Strip on July 17, 2014 (AFP Photo/Jack Guez)

Jerusalem (AFP) - Israel shot down a Hamas drone near the southern city of Ashkelon close to the Gaza border on Thursday, in the second such incident this week, the military said.

"Aircraft detected an unmanned plane and it was intercepted with a surface-to-air Patriot missile near Ashkelon," it said in a statement.

Ezzedine al-Qassam Brigades, the armed wing of the Palestinian Islamist movement Hamas which controls Gaza, said it launched the drone into the airspace of the "Zionist enemy".

On Monday, Hamas boasted that it had launched a drone flight deep into Israel, targeting the defence ministry in the heart of Tel Aviv.

The Israeli army confirmed it had shot down an unmanned aircraft but said it was intercepted well south of Tel Aviv.