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Israel Launches Air, Ground Assault on Gaza


Israel has launched an air and ground assault on the Palestinian-ruled Gaza Strip. The offensive was prompted by the kidnapping of an Israeli soldier, Sunday.

Israeli aircraft hit a power station, knocking out electricity to most of Gaza's more than one million Palestinian residents. The air force also destroyed three bridges, to prevent militants holding the captive Israeli soldier from moving him.

Tanks and troops have also moved in on the ground and have surrounded the southern town, Rafah. The military says the aim of the operation is to free the kidnapped soldier.

Palestinian legislator Saeb Erekat says Israel should have given diplomacy a chance.

"We are still exerting maximum efforts to locate the soldier and bring him out alive," he said.

The Palestinians say targeting Gaza's infrastructure is collective punishment.