Israel intensifies Gaza attacks after Tel Aviv targeted

Israeli air strikes targeted an electricity generator that fed the house of Hamas's Prime Minister Haniyeh in Gaza. Credit: REUTERS/Stringer

An escalating showdown between Israel and the Palestinians was moving towards all-out war tonight after two rockets fired by Gaza militants targeted Israel's commercial capital Tel Aviv.

Residents alerted by air sirens fled for shelter during the attack, which was the first on the city since the 1991 Gulf War, though no one was injured.

Israeli sources said one rocket landed in the sea, while another landed in an uninhabited area of the Tel Aviv suburbs.

Israeli warplanes have this evening continued the bombing of targets in and around Gaza city for a second day.

From Gaza, ITV News's Correspondent John Ray reports:

Earlier, a Hamas rocket killed three Israelis north of the Gaza Strip, drawing the first blood from Israel as the Palestinian death toll rose to at least 16, five of them children.

In a sign of possible escalation, Israeli Defence Minister Ehud Barak confirmed 30,000 reserve troops would be added to an expanded response to the trouble in Gaza.

The apparent strengthening at the border came as Israeli planes launched a fresh wave of air night raids.

Hamas leader Khaled Meshaal, though, earlier defiantly pledged to "continue the resistance".

From Gaza, John Ray outlines the threat of escalating violence:

Egypt's prime minister, Hisham Kandil, will visit Gaza tomorrow with his security officials in a show of support for the enclave. Israel has promised that the delegation would come to no harm.

Kandil and Egypt's new Islamist President Mohamed Mursi, viewed by Hamas as a protector, have been urged by the international community to urge Gaza militants to draw back from rocket attacks to avoid cascading Israeli retaliation.

In an interview with ITV News's Julie Etchingham, Middle East Envoy Tony Blair warned the whole region would be threatened by the escalation of violence:

Israel says its attack is in response to escalating missile strikes from Gaza.

Israel's bombing has not yet reached the level seen before it last invaded Gaza in 2008, but Israeli officials have said a ground assault remains an option.