Hamas: Missing Israeli soldier may have been killed
The armed wing of the Palestinian Islamist group Hamas said on Saturday it had no clear indication on the whereabouts of an Israeli soldier that Israel has accused it of abducting in the Gaza Strip, Reuters news agency reported.
Hamas added that the soldier may have been killed during an ambush and that it had no contact with militants who were operating in the southern Gaza Strip where Israel said its soldier went missing.
“We have lost contact with the group of fighters that took part in the ambush and we believe they were all killed in the [Israeli] bombardment. Assuming that they managed to seize the soldier during combat, we assess that he was also killed in the incident,” a statement by Hamas said.
Israel said, Sec. Lt. Hadar Goldin, 23, who went missing on Friday, was abducted by Hamas gunmen.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called his security cabinet into special session and warned Hamas and other militant groups that they would “bear the consequences of their actions”.
After the disappearance of the soldier, Israel declared a planned 72-hour Gaza ceasefire over, saying Hamas militants had breached the truce soon after it took effect.
The ceasefire lasted only about 90 minutes early on Friday.
Meanwhile, a Palestinian delegation is expected to arrive in Cairo on Saturday to discuss a ceasefire plan to end the raging war between Palestinian factions and Israel, sources told Al Arabiya News Channel.
The efforts to halt the hostilities comes as Israel resumed shelling, killing at least 150 Palestinians and wounding hundreds of others, hospital officials said, according to Reuters.
At least 1,592 Gazans have been killed since the start of hostilities on July 8 when Israel launched its drive to halt militant rocket fire on its territory from the coastal enclave by unleashing air and naval bombardments. Tanks and infantry pushed into the territory of 1.8 million people on July 17.
Sixty-three Israeli soldiers have been killed, and Palestinian rockets have killed three civilians in Israel.