Israel rushed an eighth missile interceptor battery into service on Saturday to counter stronger-than-expected rocket fire from Gaza as the military pounded positions in the Palestinian enclave for a fifth day, killing 19 people, medics said.

The Jewish state kept options open for a possible ground offensive into densely populated Gaza despite international pressure to negotiate a ceasefire in the conflict, which has killed 125 people in the Islamist-ruled enclave since Tuesday.

The U.N. Security Council, after days of discussion, issued a statement calling for a ceasefire and expressed serious concern about the welfare of civilians on both sides. “The Security Council members called for de-escalation of the situation, restoration of calm and reinstitution of the November 2012 ceasefire,” the 15-member body said. […]