Israeli Strike On Palestine Commences
An Israeli airstrike Tuesday targeted a road that the Israeli military said is used by Palestinian militants to launch rockets. The Israel Defense Forces told CNN that tanks, which are massed at the Gaza border, are not on the move. Tanks and troops are poised at the border as tensions escalate over a solider kidnapped by militants. In some Gaza border areas, Palestinians have built sand mounds to try to slow a tank attack.
Details to follow, I’m sure.
UPDATE: Tanks are rolling.
Israeli planes attacked two bridges and a power station, knocking out electricity in most of the Gaza Strip early Wednesday and stepping up the pressure on Palestinian militants holding captive a 19-year-old Israeli soldier. As tanks were seen moving along the Israeli side of the border fence with Gaza, Palestinians dug in behind mounds of dirt, preparing for a possible Israeli offensive.
The buildup of Israeli tanks and thousands of troops along the border with Gaza came amid intensive diplomatic efforts in the Arab world and by the United Nations. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice urged Israel to “give diplomacy a chance.”
Trying to defuse building tensions, negotiators from the ruling Hamas movement said Tuesday they had accepted a document implicitly recognizing Israel. But two Syrian-based Hamas leaders denied a final deal had been reached. Israel said only freedom for the captive soldier, Cpl. Gilad Shalit, could defuse the crisis, not a political agreement.
The Israeli military said in a statement that the object of the attacks on the bridges late Tuesday and early Wednesday was “to impair the ability of the terrorists to transfer the kidnapped soldier.” Knocking down the bridges would cut Gaza in two, Palestinian security officials said.
Early Wednesday, Israeli planes fired at least nine missiles at Gaza’s only power station, cutting electricity to much of the Gaza Strip, Palestinian security officials said. The station’s three functioning turbines and a gasoline reservoir were engulfed in enormous flames that firefighters were unable to control.
The attack raised the specter of a humanitarian crisis in Gaza, as water pumps in the strip are powered by electricity.
Israeli military officials said Prime Minister Ehud Olmert approved a “limited operation” for southern Gaza, aimed at “terrorist infrastructure.” The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to talk to reporters.
Every government has its leakers, it seems.