Palestinian prime minister Ismail Haniyeh has ordered militant groups in Gaza to call a ceasefire. The demand follows a week of fighting in northern Gaza with the Israeli army which has left over 40 dead. Hopes that an explosive situation was calming came when the army pulled out of the north, late on Friday, but incursions resumed in the west overnight, and this morning, with the army pushing into Gaza city. Since an Israeli soldier was kidnapped last week his army colleagues have been trying to find him in house-to-house searches. With four killed on Saturday, and foreign missions pulling out non-essential personnel, there is little sign of any early improvement in the situation.
Israel says it pulled out of northern Gaza after destroying terrorist installations. But it cost them the life of another soldier, and Hamas, who after the pullout proclaimed it a “victory” for their militants, brandished the dead man’s identity papers in triumph.
Today the deadly game of cat and mouse continues in the streets of Gaza. Although no-one knows his fate, on Saturday for the first time since his abduction Hamas said the corporal was in good health and being treated well. Some Israeli leaders also broke ranks and said Palestinian prisoners could be freed in exchange, but only after his release, and if Hamas was not involved.