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Fresh Israeli air strikes on Gaza

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Fresh Israeli air strikes on Gaza

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Israeli warplanes pounded Gaza overnight, in a widening military effort to secure the release of a kidnapped soldier. The unoccupied Interior Ministry offices of the Hamas-led Palestinian government were among over 20 targets to be hit. Israel holds Hamas responsible for the safe return of Corporal Gilad Shalit. Many senior officials from the party, including cabinet members and MPs, remain in Israeli detention in the West Bank.

Widely seen as a possible Israeli target himself, Palestinian Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh is nowhere to be seen. In Rafah, an Islamic Jihad militant died following an air strike, becoming the first fatality since the Gaza incursion began. Israel says it is holding back from sending troops into northern Gaza to give diplomacy a chance. Palestinian militants have agreed to the conditional release of the soldier, according to Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak.