Since Operation Pillar of Defense began on Wednesday, Iron Dome system shoots down 243 rockets, with an 88 percent success rate. Some 460 rockets have landed in Israeli territory, 33 of them in built-up areas.
As Operation Pillar of Defense entered its fifth day, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu spoke over the weekend with U.S. President Barack Obama and German Chancellor Angela Merkel, saying he had told both that he is prepared for a comprehensive cease-fire if the rocket fire from Gaza will stop.
Jerusalem residents received their first taste of rocket warnings over the weekend as terror groups fired more missiles on the south and at Tel Aviv, and the Israel Defense Forces continued to prepare for a possible ground invasion as Pillar of Defense ended its fourth day.
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After a rocket was fired at the Tel Aviv area on Friday, the army deployed a fifth, new, Iron Dome antimissile battery in the region on Saturday morning. Within two hours, the system ¬ considered more advanced than the previous four because of its more sophisticated radar system intercepted a Fajr-5 rocket fired at the city.
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Over 60 rockets were fired at Israel on Saturday. While many of them were intercepted by the Iron Dome system, including rockets aimed at Sderot, Netivot, Ashdod, and Be’er Sheva, a 10-story building was hit in Ashdod at midday and a car was damaged during a barrage of rockets on that city.
11:50 P.M. “The Israelis will commit a stupid mistake if they decide to launch a ground operation against Gaza,” Hezbollah chief Hassan Nasrallah says during a Shi’ite religious ceremony in Beirut’s southern suburbs. “The resistance in Gaza has acquired power, determination and planning capabilities,” Nasrallah said, adding that the firepower possessed by Hamas militants was putting Israelis increasingly on edge. (DPA)
11:40 P.M. Egypt’s President Mohammed Morsi says his government is in contact with both the Israelis and the Palestinians and that “there are some indications that there could be a ceasefire soon.” Morsi made the comments at a joint news conference with Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, but he stressed that there were still “no guarantees.” (DPA)
11:30 P.M. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu spoke with a number of foreign leaders over the weekend, telling them he would be prepared for an immediate, comprehensive ceasefire with Hamas if the latter agrees to halt all rocket fire from Gaza. The leaders asked Netanyahu to refrain from escalating the operation and to give Egyptian attempts to mediate a ceasefire a few days to play out. Netanyahu’s office refused to comment. (Barak Ravid)
11:15 P.M. Prime Minister’s Office denies media reports that an Israeli government representative has been dispatched to Cairo to conduct ceasefire talks. (Barak Ravid)
11:00 P.M. Fifty-seven rockets were intercepted on Saturday by Israel’s Iron Dome air-defense system. Since the beginning of the operation in Gaza, 267 rockets have been intercepted.