Israel is determined to extend its land military operation in the Gaza area in order to free 19 year-old corporal Gilad Shalit and end Palestinian missile fire on Israeli territory. The Prime Minister Ehud Olmert announced this decision yesterday at a government meeting. A few hours previously, on Sunday night, Israel’s defence army, (ZAHAL) fired a missile into the office of the Prime Minister of the Palestinian autonomy, Ismail Haniya, in the city of Gaza. At the time of the attack, the leaders of the Palestinian government were not in the building. However, only a few hours after the bombardment, standing on the ruins of his own office and looking into the lens of a television camera, he threatened Israel with his fist and declared: “The Israelites are behaving according to the law of the jungle. But no blows will change our position. The Palestinians are a strong people”.
The Israeli army claims that it was not aiming to annihilate the Palestinian Prime Minister this time. “The purpose of the air missile was to show members of the radical Islamic group Hamas that, despite its status, the Palestinian government is a target for the Israeli army”, a source from ZAHAL informed the newspaper Vremyai Novostei.
Only yesterday, terrorists from the Izzedin Al-Kassam Brigades, the military wing of the Hamas movement, threatened to respond by bombing schools, colleges and power stations if bombardments on objects of the infrastructure in the Gaza area continue. Exactly one week had passed since the attack of Islamic extremists on the Israeli signal box on the border of the Gaza area, when Palestinians abducted the Israeli soldier. The military operation named Summer Rain, started for the sake of his liberation, so far has produced no results. The soldier remains in captivity; the Palestinians continue to fire homemade Kassam missiles on Israeli territory and bring out new demands. On Saturday, Israel refused to exchange the corporal for one thousand Palestinian prisoners, offering in return for his freedom only 40 imprisoned Palestinian parliamentary ministers and deputies, captured last week on the Northern shore of the river Jordan.
In the escalation of violence and the worsening of the situation in the region, even Palestinians themselves are beginning to blame Islamic extremists. The leader of the Palestinian national administration Mahmoud Abbas (Abu Mazen) has announced that the internal disagreements in HAMAS, which takes responsibility for the abduction of the corporal, “have led to the failure of diplomatic efforts to solve the crisis”.
Translated by Leila Wilmers
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