Israel has deployed regiments of tanks and troops along its border with Gaza as it waits for news of a soldier presumed to have been kidnapped by Palestinian gunmen during a border raid.
19-year-old Corporal Gilad Shalit disappeared during the assault in which two other soldiers and a number of Palestinian militants were killed. Israel has rejected a demand for the release of hundreds of Palestinian women and youths held in Israeli prisons in return for information about the abducted soldier.
Prime Minister Ehud Olmert says the clock is ticking:
“It is not a matter of negotiations, it is not a matter of bargaining, it is not a matter of agreement.”
Palestinian militants have refused to directly confirm that they are holding the missing corporal.