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June 27, 2006

IDF Crossing Into Gasa (7:32PM ET Update - Tanks And Troops Move In)

Topics: Middle East News and Perspectives
Gaza Map.gif

(7:32 PM ET Update): Israeli tanks roll into southern Gaza: army - Israeli tanks and troops rolled into the southern Gaza Strip on Wednesday, the army said, after mediators said hope of recovering a kidnapped soldier through talks were was running out. ... The incursion came shortly after Palestinian security forces deployed near the Gazan border town of Rafah said they were ordered out by the Israeli military.

Begin Earlier Updates: Boston.com (5:22 PM EDT) - Israeli planes attacked a bridge in central Gaza late Tuesday, Israel Radio reported, and Israeli tanks were said to be on the move, possibly signaling the start of a military operation.

Palestinian security forces said Israeli tanks were moving near the Israeli village of Nahal Oz, a main Israeli staging area just outside Gaza, but that they had not yet entered Gaza.

In the Shajaiyeh neighborhood of Gaza City, not far from the border fence, armed militants took up positions across from the blaring headlights of Israeli vehicles, and Israeli attack helicopters hovered overhead. The militants told residents to leave the area.

Israeli military officials said a limited operation has been authorized for southern Gaza, aimed at "terrorist infrastructure." The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to talk to reporters.

Haaretz (5:27 - HT Vital Perspective) - IDF believes captured soldier being held in southern Gaza - IAF bombs Gaza bridge to prevent transport of abducted soldier inside Gaza.
An Israel Air Force aircraft attacked the main bridge between Gaza City and Khan Yunis on Monday, in an effort to prevent miltants from transporting kidnapped IDF soldier Gilad Shalit within Gaza.

According to information gleaned by the Palestinian Authority, Shalit is being held in the Khan Younis refugee camp and are trying to prevent his captors from moving him elsewhere, possibly to the Jabalya refugee camp.

Blogs of War has "Israeli helicopters strike Gaza power plant." (Also has additional media links)

Earlier (original post): Fox News is reporting that the IDF is now crossing into Gaza, the military action has started.

Israeli planes have attacked a bridge inside Gaza, and ground troops and tanks are on the move. Fighter jets and drones are heard overhead, and sporadic gunfire is being heard. D-day has begun in the Gaza strip.
Reuters reports the aerial attack on the bridge but says that the troops have not yet crossed into Gaza:
GAZA (Reuters, as of 5:05 PM EDT - ) - An Israeli aircraft fired a missile at a bridge in the central Gaza Strip on Tuesday as troops prepared for a threatened offensive into the territory, Palestinian witnesses said.

Israel has been planning a major push into the territory following the capture of an Israeli soldier by militants from Gaza on Sunday.

The bridge lies on one of the main roads linking the north and south of the Gaza Strip.

Palestinian security sources said Israeli tanks were moving near the northern end of the Gaza Strip, but the army said they had not yet crossed the border.

Sky News (UK) reports that Israeli planes have attacked a ridge in Gaza in the stand-off over the kidnapped soldier.
Hundreds of troops are also poised to cross the Gaza border after a Palestinian militant leader said the captured soldier is being held in a "secure place".

Mohammed Abdel Al, spokesman for the Hamas-linked Popular Resistance Committees, also said his group had seized a Jewish settler in the West Bank.

Haaretz updates: The Hamas attack, Israel and the PA.

Haaretz reports that the terrorist's plan did not include grabbing the soldier:

Members of the Egyptian delegation conducting negotiations over the release of the abducted Israel Defense Forces soldier are under the impression that those holding him belong to various organizations, and are unsure what to do with the spoil in their possession. The Egyptians also believe that the ideological disputes among the kidnappers are likely to make it difficult to reach agreement that would facilitate a hasty release for Gilad Shalit.

According to an Egyptian source in Cairo, there will be "lengthy talks with irregular and undisciplined forces."

This Egyptians' view could be an indication that Palestinian Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh now has realized that the movement that carried him to power could strip him of his ability to maintain control. Hamas, a movement that has enjoyed an image of unity among its ranks is looking more and more like Fatah of the intifada era.

Related:
Gilad Shalit Kidnapping: Hamas Prime Minister Ismail Hanniyeh Threatened with Assassination?


Israel's rude awakening


Israeli soldier in 'secure place'

BBC Profile: Gaza Strip

More to come

Posted by Richard at June 27, 2006 4:58 PM



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