Fighting has intensified during the day as the Israeli army continues what it says is its push into Gaza to search for a captured soldier. On Saturday, faced with the onslaught, Palestinian prime minister Ismail Haniyeh called for all Palestinian groups to respect a ceasefire. Striking from Kami in the east, the Israeli army is moving with strength into Gaza city, where at least four people have died today.
Things had looked more promising just hours earlier, when the army lifted its week-long siege of the north of Gaza around Beit Lahiya, and pulled back. But attacks on Kami, the main trade crossing point between Gaza and Israel, began overnight. A week’s searching by the army for corporal Gilad Shalit in northern Gaza came to nothing, and the pullout left over 40 people dead and many injured, including some Turkish journalists.
On the political front division within the Israeli government has appeared on how to end the crisis. One camp refuses all talks, another says Arab prisoners could be released for Shalit, but only if he is freed first, and that Hamas be cut out of the negotiations. In the meantime a sign that things are not expected to improve soon was the evacuation of non-essential foreigners.