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Bush Says Captured Israel Soldier Should Be Freed

President Bush says the key to ending the crisis in the Gaza Strip is freeing a captured Israeli soldier. Palestinian gunmen kidnapped the soldier one week ago, sparking an Israeli assault.

President Bush told Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan that the initial goal in stopping the violence should be freeing a captured Israeli soldier.

White House National Security Council spokesman Fred Jones says the prime minister telephoned President Bush Saturday to discuss the crisis. The 30-minute call focused entirely on the violence in Gaza.

Jones says the president told the prime minister that freeing 19-year-old corporal Gilad Shalit is key to ending the crisis.

Israeli forces entered the southern Gaza Strip this past week as part of efforts to free the soldier. Israeli forces also detained more than 60 officials of Hamas, the Islamic militant group, which won the last Palestinian election.

White House officials say it is the responsibility of the Palestinian Authority to stop all acts of violence and terror. Instead, spokesman Tony Snow says, Hamas has been complicit in perpetrating violence, terror and hostage-taking.

 

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