Hamas warned Israel in a Hebrew message that it would fire on Tel Aviv in a barrage that would test the Iron Dome missile defence system.
The rockets were fired on Tel Aviv after 9 p.m. on Saturday, an hour after Hamas warned the operators of the Iron Dome batteries to be “prepared to the maximum.”
Rockets fired from Gaza hit Israel’s south and centre all day on Saturday, with nearly 90 from morning to evening. Hamas said it fired 10 rockets on Tel Aviv. Iron Dome intercepted six of them.
Following the announcement of the evening rocket fire on Tel Aviv, Gazans danced in Jabalya, located near Gaza City in North Gaza, after false reports that Israelis were injured. Footage of the celebrations was broadcast on Israel Channel 2.
Tel Aviv night life reportedly continued as usual, with bars and coffee houses as busy as any other Saturday night. A performance of the Israel Philharmonic in Tel Aviv went on as scheduled.
Also Saturday evening, two rockets fired from Gaza landed near Hebron and Bethlehem, in areas of the West Bank controlled by the Palestinian Authority.
Following those attacks, the Israel Defence Forces (IDF) distributed rocket safety information in Arabic to residents of the Palestinian Authority.
An Israeli air strike on what has been identified as the home of Gaza’s police chief Tayseer Al-Batsh killed 15 Palestinians on Saturday, many of them from the same family, Gazan authorities told AFP.
The Palestinian death toll since the start of Israel’s Operation Protective Edge five days ago is 151, with over 1,000 wounded, the Palestinian Maan news agency reported.
The United Nations Security Council on Saturday unanimously approved a declaration calling on Israel and the Palestinians to end the hostilities and return to the “calm and restitution of the November 2012 ceasefire,” following Israel’s last operation in Gaza.
The statement, prepared by the United States and Jordan, conveyed “serious concern” for the “protection and welfare of civilians on both sides,” and called on Israel and the Palestinians to respect “international humanitarian laws.” The declaration also called on Israel and the Palestinians to return to the peace-negotiating table and arrive at an agreement “based on the two-state solution.”
Israel, however, is considering all options and will not stop targeting Hamas whatever the international pressure, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said.
Netanyahu in a Friday evening briefing with reporters at Israel’s Defence Ministry in Tel Aviv said he had had good conversations with world leaders, including Prime Minister Stephen Harper, President Obama and Russian President Vladimir Putin.
“I tell them all one simple thing, no country would allow shooting at its citizens without a tough response,” he said. “No international pressure will stop us from hitting terrorist targets.”
Netanyahu would not say if he would launch a ground invasion, although he suggested it was not out of the question.
“We are considering all options and we are ready for all options,” he said in response to reporters’ questions about the prospects of ground action. “That is what I instructed IDF, and that it is what it is ready for.