Israeli forces have intensified their military operation in a bid to recover an abducted soldier. Palestinian witnesses say Israeli tanks have now pushed into northern Gaza. Earlier, at least 28 Hamas politicians were arrested in and around the town of Ramallah, including eight Palestinian cabinet ministers.
There have also been unconfirmed reports by Palestinian militants that they have fired a chemical-tipped rocket at Israel, although Tel Aviv has dismissed the claim. And an Israeli war plane launched a missile at a soccer field at the Islamic University in Gaza City. No one was hurt in the attack. Earlier, Israeli aircraft dropped leaflets warning civilians that troops and tanks were poised to step up their offensive if the kidnapped soldier, who was seized on Sunday, was not released.
As well as searching for the conscript, a hunt has been underway to find an Israeli settler who recently went missing. A body has been found and a Palestinian group has said it has executed a young man This is Israel’s first military offensive since the country withdrew from Palestinian territory last year. It began with a push into southern Gaza. Roads and bridges were targeted to stop those holding the kidnap victim from transporting him around the region. But, as the violence has escalated, foreign powers have urged Israel to show restraint.