07/10/2006, 00.00
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Israel warns Gaza operation has no set timeframe

Olmert says operations to last till Corporal Shalit is freed and Qassam rockets stop landing in Israel. Kofi Annan urges urgent action to prevent a humanitarian disaster.

Jerusalem (AsiaNews/Agencies) – Military operations in Gaza have "no timetable" Israel's government announced after rejecting a ceasefire offer from the Hamas government and European criticism about its "disproportionate" reaction to the capture of corporal Gilad Shalit. Its offensive will continue until its captured soldier is freed and Qassam rocket fire against southern Israel stops.

Another difficult day for Gaza residents was marked by another Israeli air raid that left two people dead and another two wounded.

Electric generators have become the only source of electric power for hospitals, offices, houses and stores after Gaza's electricity power station was bombed, but even they face difficulties because fuel is scarce as a result of Israeli troops blocking the pipeline that normally supplies the Strip.

UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan has demanded "immediate access" for UN workers and humanitarian relief supplies to the Gaza Strip. He also asked Israel to stop using "disproportionate force" and Palestinian militants to free Shalit.

In the meantime humanitarian organisations have expressed concern about difficulties to deliver aid to almost a million and half people in Gaza.

In saying that military operations in the Gaza Strip have no set time frame and will continue until Israel has achieved its goals, Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert criticised the European Union.

"When was the last time that the European Union condemned this shooting and suggested effective measures to stop it?" Olmert said.

Olmert reiterated he would not release Palestinian prisoners to Hamas in exchange for Corporal Gilad Shalit because it would, among other things, reward "extremist elements" at the expense of moderates like Palestinian President Mahmud Abbas.

According to the Palestinian Center for Human Rights (PCHR) in Gaza, 52 people, almost all in Gaza, have died since the Israeli campaign began following the June 25 capture of Corporal Shalit. Some 140 Palestinians have also been wounded in the same period.

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See also
Israel rejects (for now) truce proposal in Gaza as “unrealistic”
Tensions escalate over Israeli corporal's kidnapping
Gaza border closed, humanitarian aid at risk
Embargo against Gaza eases as UN holds special session
Still working on a ceasefire in Gaza


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