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Hamas demands end to raids as Israel strikes Gaza

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Hamas demands end to raids as Israel strikes Gaza


Palestinian Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh says steps are being taken to secure the release of an Israeli solider abducted last Sunday. In a speech at Gaza City’s main mosque, he said Israel must end its military offensive in the Gaza Strip if it wanted to free the soldier.

Israel rejected a demand by militants to free Palestinian prisoners for information on the soldier’s fate. Overnight, Israeli planes struck over 20 targets in the Gaza Strip, including the office of the Hamas interior minister and a building used by Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades militants, part of the Fatah movement of President Mahmoud Abbas.

An Islamic Jihad militant died following an air strike in Rafah in southern Gaza while another militant was shot dead by troops in the West Bank city of Nablus. The Israeli army says it is checking new claims by the Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades that it has kidnapped a soldier in the West Bank.

A new poll suggests most Israelis favour diplomacy before large-scale military action. Israeli strikes have already knocked out bridges, water systems and a major power transformer in Gaza.

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