Israeli forces have rolled into the Gaza Strip – stepping up pressure on Palestinian militants to release a kidnapped soldier. Armoured vehicles entered near the southern town of Rafah. Palestinian reports say the Israeli military has now moved into Gaza’s airport.
Earlier, Israeli aircraft struck at three bridges on key roads. The army said the aim was to stop the captive being moved. The operation comes less than 12 months after Israel withdrew from the territory, following 38 years of occupation. The air offensive also involved a helicopter attack on Gaza’s main power plant that cut off electricity to much of the Strip.
Israel maintains it has no intention of staying in the territory once it secures the safe return of Corporal Gilad Shalit, 19, who was abducted on Sunday. Militants are demanding the release of Palestinian women and children from Israeli jails in return for information about him – something Israel has rejected.
Meanwhile, a separate militant group threatened to kill a Jewish settler it said it had seized in the West Bank, if Israel continued the Gaza raid.