News of the kidnapping changed the calculus and gave Israel some space to operate, just as it was on the verge of potentially ending its operation. RELATED: Americans Facing Trial in North Korea Beg for U.S. Aid The counteroffensive by Israel may be nearing its end anyway.On Saturday, two major things happened in the conflict that were not directly related to the kidnapping. First, as Reuters reported, Israel said that refugees in city of Beit Lahiyain the northern Gaza Strip could return to their homes for the first time since Israel’s ground offensive began over two weeks ago. Also, a military source told the Israeli site Ynetthat nearly all of the tunnels in the Gaza Strip had been neutralized. This happened as direct battles between Israeli troops and Gaza fighters began to wane. He adds that there were also relatively few clashes between IDF troops and Gazan fighters since yesterday, other than the Givati incident and another incident involving anti-tank fire in Shejaiya. Presumably, just 24 hours ago, Israel was in a position where it would might have had to agree to a ceasefire containing conditions that would have given Hamas a badly needed public relations victory.
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