Abu Ubeida, a spokesman for Hamas' military wing, the Izz al-Din al-Qassam Brigades, said that his organization will not disburse information regarding the fate of the Israeli soldier that was kidnapped during the attack without getting something in return.
The Palestinian media and local radio stations quoted sources in the organizations that took part in the attack as saying they were providing medical care for the kidnapped soldier in a bid to use him as a bargaining chip in a future prisoner exchange deal.
Abbas slams attack
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas condemned the operation that claimed the lives of two IDF soldiers: "This action goes against everything we heard from the representatives we have spoken with in the framework of the attempt to reach an agreement on the prisoners' document, and is a violation of all previous understandings."
"We have always stated that actions outside the Palestinian consensus that may make the Palestinian people pay a dear price must be avoided," he added. The president invited representatives of all the organizations in Gaza to his office and informed them he was presented with an Israeli ultimatum stating that if the soldier is not returned within several hours, IDF forces will enter the Strip and the Palestinian groups will have to bear the consequences.
None of the groups has so far cooperated with the demand, according to reports.
Sources in the Strip reported that mediation efforts were launched by Egyptian and Jordanian officials in Gaza in a bid to ascertain the kidnapped soldier's fate. The officials held talks with high-ranking Palestinian officials and heads of the security forces in order to bring to the soldier's release or discover details regarding his condition.
Abbas also spoke on the phone with Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak and demanded that he intervene in order to prevent a large-scale Israeli operation in the Strip. He vowed that the Palestinian security forces will make every effort to resolve the kidnapping issue. Senior officials in Abbas' office held contacts with members of the Palestinian groups, mainly Hamas and the Popular Resistance Committees, on the matter.
'Ready to sacrifice family'
However, a Palestinian source told Ynet that there is still no information on the abducted soldier.
The mother of one of the two Palestinians killed in the incident near Kerem Shalom handed out sweets to passersby in her neighborhood in response to the killing of IDF soldiers.
The mother expressed her support of her son's actions and said that she is ready to sacrifice her entire family in the war against the enemy.
Three organizations cooperated in the attack, and it is possible they entered Israel's territory from Sinai, and not from the Strip.
Roee Nahmias contributed to the report