Tuesday at night, the Israeli air force attacked the main bridge that links between Gaza city and Khan Younis. Arm source reported that the shelling comes in a bid to prevent Palestinian resistance fighters from transporting the abducted Israeli soldier, Gilad Shalit, within Gaza.

According to Israeli intelligence sources, leaders of the armed wing of Hamas are holding the soldier and considering smuggling him into Egypt.

Meanwhile, Egyptian border guards were deployed in the Rafah area – the former Philadelphi Route – in the southern part of the Gaza Strip, due to fears that the people who abducted Shalit would try to smuggle him into Egypt.

Israeli sources reported that the idea of smuggling the soldier outside of the Gaza Strip is to increase the freedom of movement for the fighters who fear that collaborators with Israeli  in Gaza might disclose information about his whereabouts.

Earlier Tuesday, Mohammad Abdul-Al, spokesperson of the Popular Resistance Committees said that the abducted soldier “is kept in a secure place where the Zionists cannot reach”.

An Israeli military intelligence officer told Knesset  Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee, said that the abducted soldier was mildly injured in his stomach, and claimed that there are ongoing contacts between exiled Hamas leader Khaled Meshal, in Damascus, and the Gaza-based Ahmed Jabri, the Hamas military wing leader behind the attack.

On Monday, Palestinian Legislative Council Secretary and senior Hamas official, Mahmoud Rahmi, said that Israel had proposed negotiations on releasing Palestinian prisoner held in Israeli jails in exchange for information about Shalit.

Israel’s Prime Minister, Ehud Olmert, denied the report, ruled out any negotiations over the issue and vowed that Israel would respond fiercely to recent attacks from Gaza.

During a speech at the Jewish Agency gathering in Jerusalem, Olmert said that “this issue is not a matter of negotiations or bargaining”.