Man ducks as rocket explodes nearby - AP - April 8, 2011
A man lies on the ground as smoke rises from an explosion of a mortar shell fired by Palestinians militants from Gaza Strip in Kibbutz Nir Oz on April 8, 2011. Photo by AP
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Six rockets fired from Gaza landed in Israel on Saturday evening, one of which was intercepted by the Iron Dome missile defense system. There were no injuries reported.

On Saturday alone, 38 rockets were fired into Israel.

One of the six rockets fired on Saturday evening landed in the middle of a community near the beach in Ashkelon and the other four landed in open areas nearby.

The barrage of rocket fire comes in the wake of Hamas' attack on an Israeli school bus Thursday. One teenager was seriously wounded in the attack and the bus driver was moderately wounded.

That attack led to Israeli air strikes on Gaza, which were quickly retaliated with more rocket fire. Since Thursday, an estimated 70 rockets have landed in Israel.

The newly deployed Iron Dome missile defense system has intercepted eight rockets since the most recent escalation with Gaza.

Earlier on Saturday, Israeli security sources said that Hamas passed on a message to Israel requesting a ceasefire.

According to the sources, Israel is willing to agree to the request and will wait to reevaluate its position after seeing if there is indeed a halt in rocket and mortar fire into southern Israel.

The Israeli security sources said that Thursday's air strike on Gaza was massive, and Israel is prepared to intensify its reaction to fire from Gaza should it continue.

The number of Palestinians killed in retaliatory air strikes on Gaza since Thursday is 17. Included in that number is a senior member of Hamas' military wing, who was killed when an Israeli missile hit the car he was driving in.

The senior Hamas militant who was killed, Tayser Abu Snima, has been involved in carrying out attacks on Israel Defense Forces and citizens near the border with Israel, and IDF spokesman said.