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Gaza Incursion Continues, Officials Hint at Possible Compromise

A top Israeli official signaled a willingness to compromise Friday, saying Hamas militants must free an Israeli soldier and stop firing rockets. Hamas, meanwhile, insisted upon the release of prisoners.

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  • MARGARET WARNER:

    Scott Wilson, thank you for joining us.

    You have been in the heart of the fighting up in Beit Lahiya in northern Gaza. Tell us how intense it is, as seen from the ground.

  • SCOTT WILSON, The Washington Post:

    It's been quite intense over the last two days.

    You have essentially Israeli tanks moving in from the north and working on the far western side of Gaza right now, in between some populated areas and really a coastal strip.

    And what they're confronting are groups of well-organized Palestinian gunmen, using rifles, rocket-propelled grenades, roadside mines, to try to stop their advance. And the fighting sort of ebbs and flows. But, at times, it's quite intense. And it's in very sort of densely populated areas, in orchards.

    And it can come and go very, very suddenly. All this is also happening on the ground with Israeli Apache helicopters and drones overhead, which have inflicted a lot of damage to the Palestinian resistance, the armed resistance, with airstrikes that occur periodically.

  • MARGARET WARNER:

    And to what extent have the Palestinians been able to resist and, in fact, continue their attacks into Israel as well?

  • SCOTT WILSON:

    Well, it's a good question.

    It's what we're seeing is a very slow-moving Israeli advance. It's very methodical. What it's trying to do is basically expand the distance between areas used by Palestinians to launch rockets into southern Israel from those sites. And, so, it's creating what Israel calls a buffer zone.

    And, so, how fast and hard Israel is trying to come in, they're really setting the pace. And, so, the resistance may not be doing too much to stop it. It really is Israel right now determining how far it's going.

    At the same time, the Palestinians are continuing to have the capability of sending these rockets into Israel. As many as seven landed there today, including three inside of the city of Sderot. Three people were reported wounded. So, if that's the Israeli objective, it doesn't seem, at least at this point, to have been completed.

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