Israeli military forces have launched a military offensive in Gaza. Air strikes have been carried out against two bridges in the territory. Sources have confirmed the operation was aimed at preventing militants moving an abducted Israeli soldier.
Shortly after the attacks, Israeli forces began to move into the south of the region. A helicopter gunship also attacked the main power plant in central Gaza, cutting off electricity to most of the territory. A fourth air strike was launched against a target in Gaza city which led to alarge explosion, according to eyewitnesses.
The crisis has brought relations between Israel and the Palestinians to their lowest ebb since Israel quit Gaza last year after 38 years of occupation. Israel has warned for days now of large-scale military action in retaliation for the kidnapping of Corporal Gilad Shalit.
The 19-year-old soldier vanished when militants burrowed under a border fence at the weekend and clashed with Israeli troops. Two Israeli soldiers and several Palestinian militants were killed.