Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu met with regional council heads in Israel's south on Saturday, and said Israel will continue to strike whoever plans attacks on Israeli citizens.

The meeting came as the escalation of violence that began on Friday continued on Saturday after several hours of quiet. Five rockets were fired from the Gaza Strip into southern Israel in the early afternoon.

"We will improve the home front defenses even more," Netanyahu said, "also by purchasing more Iron Dome systems, which proved themselves again this weekend."

Since Friday, a total of nearly 100 rockets have been fired at Israel from Gaza. During the escalation, the Iron Dome system intercepted 27 of the 32 rockets it targeted. The missile defense system is designed to only intercept rockets identified as heading toward populated areas.

 

Also on Saturday, Palestinians said that an Israeli air strike killed two people riding on a motorcycle in Gaza's Khan Younis, bringing the total number of militants reportedly killed to 14.

U.S. Secretary of State Hilary Clinton criticized on Saturday the barrage of rockets fired from Gaza to Israel. Meeting with Kadima chairwoman Tzipi Livni at Newsweek's annual Women in the World Summit in New York, Clinton added that "Israel has the right to defend itself." Livni thanked Clinton, saying the international community must act against the terror attacks on civilians in Israel's south.

Vice Prime Minister Moshe Ya'alon said on Saturday that he hopes "Hamas will quickly come to its senses and stop the violence." Speaking at a panel in Kfar Saba, Ya'alon added: "It is unacceptable for Israeli citizens to be targeted by this or that organization… Hamas' ideology is that we should not be here, the rest is tactics."

On Friday afternoon, the Israel Air Force launched a strike in Gaza and killed the leader of the Popular Resistance Committees, Zuhir al-Qaisi, who was believed to be planning a large terror attack on Israel's southern border.