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Israeli soldier missing in Gaza, say media reports


Israeli Soldier

An Israeli soldier is missing in the Gaza Strip and presumed dead, local media quoted the military as saying on Tuesday, two days after Palestinian Islamist group Hamas announced they had captured a soldier during clashes.

The Israeli military believed the soldier was killed along with six other troops in an attack on an armoured vehicle on Sunday, Israel’s Channel 10 News reported on Tuesday. However, the army has only identified six bodies.

In a Twitter post Tuesday morning, a journalist with the Israeli Haaretz daily said the soldiers were killed in the Shejaia neighbourhood of Gaza City, which has seen extensive shelling over the weekend.

In a televised announcement late Sunday, the armed wing of Hamas, the al Qassam Bridages, said they had captured an Israeli soldier named Aron Shaul.

Reporting from Gaza on Monday, FRANCE 24’s Gallagher Fenwick said the announcement Sunday evening “generated huge scenes of joy in Gaza, people shooting [celebratory rounds] in the air, shouts of joy also coming from loudspeakers on mosques all over the Palestinian enclave,” he explained.

But hours later, Israeli Ambassador to the UN Ron Prossor denied reports that Hamas had kidnapped an Israeli soldier during the fighting in Shejaia.

An Israeli military statement on Tuesday said the army had completed the identification of six of the soldiers killed and that “efforts to identify the seventh soldier are ongoing and have yet to be determined”.

It had already announced the seven deaths on Sunday, but did not immediately release all the names of the dead.

It had already announced the seven deaths on Sunday, but the names of the six identified soldiers were not released until Tuesday morning.

For Israelis, a captured soldier would be a nightmare scenario. In the past, Israel has paid a heavy price to retrieve its soldiers – dead or alive – captured by its enemies.

Source: France24