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By Nidal al-Mughrabi and Maayan Lubell GAZA/JERUSALEM (Reuters) - 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. A mosque in the central Gaza Strip had been bombed to rubble, residents said. The Israeli military said the mosque had housed a weapons cache.
Football fan Pope Francis stayed neutral on Saturday ahead of the World Cup final between his native Argentina and Germany, saying the tournament in Brazil had shown the importance of dialogue between different cultures. "The World Cup allowed people from different countries and religions to come together. May sport always promote the culture of encounter," Francis said in tweets in several languages including Latin from his @pontifex account. The Vatican has said Francis "might" watch the match although it has ruled out the possibility that he could sit down with his German predecessor Benedict XVI, known to be more fond of theology and piano music than sports.