The Israeli military yesterday bombed one of its own troops who Hamas’s military wing, the al-Qassam Brigades, had kidnapped and taken to a safe location.
The Hamas fighters took the kidnapped soldier to a home in Gaza, which was tracked by the Israeli army and targeted by Israeli warplanes only hours after the Israeli soldier was taken to the building.
An al-Qassam Brigades statement said that the soldier was killed instantly, and presumed that Israeli military commanders would prefer to have their soldiers killed than have to negotiate their release or admit their failure at the hands of the Palestinian brigades.
Addressing the Israeli army, the statement said: ‘You will see the Qassam fighters in every road and in all the streets and alleys to catch your souls and detain you.
‘See how your lives are cheap for your leaders; they prefer to kill you than try to rescue you – just like Gilad Shalit – (who was captured in June 2006), who is still with us and they will do nothing to save him.’
The Al-Qassam Brigades finished their statement promising to make all possible efforts to kidnap Israeli soldiers and guarantee the release of Palestinians from Israeli prisons.
Meanwhile, nine were dead by noon on day 17 of the Israeli war on Gaza, as Israeli strikes and ground troops pushed towards Gaza City.
Palestinian fighters were heard clashing with Israeli ground troops at the three entrances to Gaza City, in an effort to stave off a full invasion of the area.
Air strikes hit tens of homes on the northern, eastern and southern borders of Gaza City in order to improve access to the city and by-pass the resistance fighters stationed at the entrances.
Warplanes continue to use phosphorus bombs and homes around the city continue to burn, covering the area with smoke.
Shortly after noon, Israeli planes hit Palestine Square in central Gaza City, killing two and injuring at least ten.
Director of Ambulance and Emergency Services, Dr Muaweyah Hassanain, said the injured were cut to pieces and several required amputations.
More clashes were reported between resistance fighters and Israeli soldiers in the neighbourhoods north and south of the Old City, Zaytoun and Tuffah.
Warplanes flew over the area before ground troops entered, hitting tens of homes with missiles and phosphorus bombs. At least ten homes in the area were on fire.
The strikes killed five, including two women and a child. Medical sources identified one of the women as Amal Muhammad Al-Madhoun, and a man named Shaiboub Shambali from Beit Hanoun.
Air strikes also hit in the northern Strip, mostly in the Al-Jarin neighbourhood of Jabaliya.
One of the missiles hit the home of Fady Al-Amoudi, from the Ayman Juda faction of Fatah’s Al-Aqsa Brigades. His home was badly damaged and was set ablaze by the strike. Al-Amoudi was killed in the early days of the invasion.
Missiles hit the Al-Masri home in Beit Lahiya as well as the Organisation for the injured and Handicapped in the Sheikh Zaid area.
Israeli missiles hit the Philadelphi Route, near the Rafah refugee camp overnight.
The total number of dead from 17 days of Israeli strikes is over 900, with 4,100 injured.