Israeli Stock Market Drops Nearly 5 Percent on Recent Violence

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The Israeli stock market plunged on Wednesday on word that two more Israeli soldiers were captured, and that Israel, already embroiled in a military offensive against Palestinian militants in Gaza, was getting entangled in a second front against Lebanese guerrillas.

The exchange's TA-25 blue chip index sank as much as 4.9 percent in exceptionally heavy trading. By mid-afternoon, it edged up slightly, ending the day with a 4.2 percent drop.

The two soldiers were seized during a Hezbollah guerrilla attack on Israel's northern border. The attack took place less than three weeks after militants affiliated with the Palestinians' ruling Hamas party tunneled under the Gaza Strip's border with Israel and seized an Israeli soldier.