Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert has rejected the demands of Palestinian militant groups believed to be holding an Israeli soldier.
Mr. Olmert on Monday said he will not release Palestinian women from Israeli jails in exchange for information about Israeli solider Gilad Shalit. The militant groups Popular Resistance Committees, the armed wing of Hamas, and the Islamic Army made the demands today in a statement.
The Israeli soldier was abducted Sunday during an attack by Hamas-linked militants on an Israeli military post near the Gaza Strip
Earlier today, Mr. Olmert said he holds the entire Palestinian leadership responsible for the young man's safety. He has ordered the army to prepare for a major offensive against Palestinian militants in the Gaza Strip.
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas condemned Sunday's raid, and the Hamas-led Palestinian government demanded the militants release the Israeli soldier.
The border attack is the first one carried out by Palestinian militants since Israeli troops withdrew from the Gaza Strip last year.
Three militants were killed in the fighting.