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Militants issue ultimatum over Israeli soldier
Cat : Israel and Zionism
Date : 2006-07-03 18:46:37                      Reader : 306
or face the consequences and uncertain future of the soldier, if Israel continue also bombardment of civilians. We advise resistance in Palestine and Iraq to capture more military to bargain release of detainees. Always with best treatment of captured military to give a lesson to axe of evil how to treat detainees!!
Associated France Press 3/7/2006
Militants issue ultimatum over Israeli soldier
by Mehdi Lebouachera
GAZA CITY (AFP) - Palestinian militants holding an Israeli soldier captive have issued an ultimatum for  Israel to free prisoners or face the consequences as the army kept up its military assault on the Gaza Strip.
The Tuesday deadline was immediately rejected by Israel, which had sent troops and tanks into northern Gaza after a sixth straight night of air attacks launched in a bid to pressure the Palestinians into giving up the serviceman.
"Faced with the Zionist enemy's persistence in taking military measures and aggressions, we give it a delay expiring Tuesday, July 4 at 6:00 am (0300 GMT)," said a statement from the three groups that seized the conscript in an attack on an army post eight days ago.
"If the enemy does not meet the demands we laid out in our previous statement... we will consider the matter closed and the enemy will be responsible for all results," said the statement from the Popular Resistance Committees, the armed wing of the ruling Hamas movement and the Army of Islam.
Israel, which has massed a force of 5,000 troops on the Gaza border, has so far rejected demands by militants for the release of Palestinian prisoners in its jails, with officials warning that the crisis could drag on for months.
"We will not give in to any blackmailing or to any ultimatum put forth by any terror organisation, and in this specific case, the Hamas," army chief Dan Halutz told reporters after meeting the parents of 19-year-old corporal Gilad Shalit.
On the ground, Israeli troops shot dead a Palestinian militant from the armed wing of Hamas as forces rolled into the Beit Hanun area of northern Gaza.
The latest salvos in the escalating Middle East crisis followed threats by the armed wing of Hamas -- boycotted as terrorists by Israel and the West -- that it would strike civilians in Israel if the Gaza offensive is not halted.
Israel has launched its biggest military operation in a year over the abduction Shalit in a militant attack on June 25, warning it would use all its military might to secure his release.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said Moscow was using "all channels available" to secure Shalit's release after talks with visiting Israeli counterpart, Tzipi Livni.
The Russian press speculated that Moscow could use privileged contacts with Hamas to broker a solution. Unlike the West, Moscow does not consider Hamas a terrorist outfit and top Hamas leaders visited the Russian capital this year.
Pan-Arab newspaper Al-Hayat said an Egyptian delegation mediating in the crisis had met Shalit in Gaza but gave neither a date nor location.
Israel has used its firepower against militant and civilian targets across Gaza with wave after wave of night-time air strikes, and in a dramatic warning to Hamas Sunday hit the office of prime minister Ismail Haniya.
For the first time since Israel launched its Gaza assault early Wednesday, the military sent its armour into the north of the territory, although it has yet to launch a major threatened ground offensive in the area.
Less than 10 months after Israel left Gaza following a 38-year occupation, anxious Palestinian residents woke up to the unwelcome sight of dozens of tanks and bulldozers snaking through their farmland.
Streets emptied and local medics braced for an influx of casualties beyond their already overstretched means of handling.
"We are already packed with people suffering from mental disorders, who have not been able to get any sleep for days because of the shelling, air raids and sonic booms," said Mohammed Yagi, head doctor of a clinic in Beit Lahiya.
A military source said a limited number of troops had entered northern Gaza searching for explosive devices and tunnels dug by militants into Israel.
The raid followed a series of air strikes on weapons depots, a Hamas office and buildings run by the Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades, a militant group loosely affiliated to Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas's Fatah party.
Haniya appealed for international intervention against Israel's "insane policy" on Sunday after a helicopter gunship struck at the heart of the Palestinian government, setting his Gaza office ablaze in a missile strike.
The armed wing of Hamas threatened to retaliate by resuming attacks inside Israel, threatening a "sea of blood" if the offensive continued.
EU Commission chief Jose Manuel Barroso became the latest international official to express concern about the escalating violence, calling on both sides to show restraint.
UN Secretary General Kofi Annan has already expressed worries that the Israeli onslaught could undermine the possibilities for a lasting settlement of the Middle East conflict.
Olmert's government has rejected outright the demands of the three militant groups which have called for the release of 1,00 Palestinians held in Israeli jails as well as women and children prisoners.
It has also threatened to strike at Hamas leaders, including those based in Damascus, raising fears of a regional escalation of the worst crisis in the Middle East since Hamas came to power and Olmert took the helm in Israel.
"My government has instructed the IDF (army) and the security establishment to do everything in order to bring Gilad back home... and when I say everything, I mean everything," Olmert told Sunday's cabinet meeting.
Israel last week hit the Hamas-run interior ministry in Gaza, detained scores of Hamas members in the occupied West Bank including eight ministers and more than 20 lawmakers, and revoked the Jerusalem residency of four others.
Faced with the threat of a fullscale ground offensive, impoverished residents of Gaza, one of the most densely populated areas on the planet with a population of 1.4 million, are grappling with food, fuel and electricity cuts.

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