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Hamas: Missing soldier likely killed in Israeli air strike

Israel continued to bombard Gaza overnight, as the Palestinian death toll rose to more than 70 after the collapse of Friday’s UN and U.S.-brokered 72-hour ceasefire that was supposed to lead to negotiations to end the Israel-Hamas war.

Rockets continued to be fired from Gaza into Israel early Saturday morning, with the Iron Dome intercepting some over Tel Aviv and Be’er Sheva.

Hamas’ armed wing stated Saturday that missing soldier Hadar Goldin may have been killed in Israeli air strikes following the incident in which he was captured and two other soldiers killed Friday. The group claims it has lost contact with the cell that carried out the attack on troops in Rafah. U.S. President Barack Obama and UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon both condemned the capture and called for the soldier’s immediate release.

Palestinians gather as some people dig to recover bodies in the village of Khuza'a, east of Khan Younis, Gaza Strip, August 1, 2014.

Palestinians gather as some people dig to recover bodies in the village of Khuza’a, east of Khan Younis, Gaza Strip, August 1, 2014.

While Hamas  claims the incident occurred at about 7 a.m. Friday morning, Israel asserts that it took place at 9:30 a.m. – nearly two hours into what was supposed to be a 72-hour ceasefire. Goldin’s capture may signal a significant escalation in Israel’s military operation in Gaza, which has entered its 26th day.

Dispatch from Gaza: The bloody devolution of a ‘ceasefire’

Following the capture, the Israeli army carried out heavy shelling and air strikes throughout Gaza, particularly in and around Rafah. Palestinian medical sources say more than 70 people were killed in these attacks. Palestinians told Channel 2 that the army is working to completely isolate Rafah in an attempt to locate Goldin. Roads were reportedly blocked north of Rafah in the direction of Khan Younis, and passage to the Sinai region on the border with Egypt was barred.

Haaretz reported that four tunnels were bombed in Gaza in the past 24 hours and cited a senior Israeli officer who said the military is “very close to completing” the destruction of the tunnels in Gaza.

An Israeli artillery fires a shell towards the Gaza Strip from a position near Israel's border with the Gaza Strip on Augost 1, 2014 after the proposed three-day truce that began at 0500 GMT collapsed amid a deadly new wave of bloodshed and the apparent capture of an Israeli soldier by Hamas (photo: Activestills)

An Israeli artillery fires a shell towards the Gaza Strip from a position near Israel’s border with the Gaza Strip on Augost 1, 2014 after the proposed three-day truce that began at 0500 GMT collapsed amid a deadly new wave of bloodshed and the apparent capture of an Israeli soldier by Hamas (photo: Activestills)

Meanwhile, in the West Bank, more than 90 Palestinians were injured by live fire in clashes with Israeli security forces in Hebron on Friday. According to Ma’an News Agency, organizers said 50,000 people marched in central Hebron in protest of Israel’s ongoing offensive in Gaza. In clashes that broke out in Tul Karm, a 22-year-old Palestinian man was shot dead by Israeli forces, bringing the total number of deaths in West Bank protests over the last three weeks to 13.

Despite the collapse of the temporary ceasefire, chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat confirmed that a Palestinian delegation would travel to Cairo Saturday evening to continue pushing for a truce.

Meanwhile, the U.S. Congress quickly moved to approve a $225 million bill to support Israel’s missile defense system. The funds will be used to restock Israel’s Iron Dome system.

According to the Palestinian Ministry of Health, the death toll since the start of the Israeli offensive has surpassed 1,650, at least 315 of them children. More than 8,750 Palestinians have been injured, including 2,307 children. A total of 63 Israeli soldiers have been killed in the fighting, while the civilian death toll remains at three – two Israeli citizens and one Thai worker.

Related:
Dispatch from Gaza: The bloody devolution of a ‘ceasefire’
PHOTOS: Gazans recover belongings, bodies during short-lived ceasefire

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    1. Johnboy

      Some evidence to back up the competing timelines would be nice.

      Israel’s claim that the clash took place at 9:30am is, so far anyway, completely unsupported by anything resembling evidence.

      Hamas, however, can point to a tweet that it put out at 6:22am: “At 6:30 a.m., a group of the Qassam infiltrated behind enemy lines at east Rafah and bombed a house that the enemy had taken as a stronghold with a Tandem missile after the enemies bombed the whole area”.

      It can also point to another tweet it put out at 7:34am: “At 7 a.m. a group [of Hamas fighters] clashed with [Israeli] forces east of Rafah and caused many injuries and death to them”

      Both are describing an event that the IDF insists occurred at 9:30am, which would mean that either:
      a) the IDF is lying or
      b) Hamas possess a twitter-time-machine.

      Hmmm, maybe it is the latter, but if that’s the case then how to explain this tweet from ITV News editor Rageh Omaar: “Just returned from Southern gaza – got to border with Israel multiple artillery barrages whilst there an hour after supposed ceasefire”

      Err, guys, that observation would peg those artillery barrages at 9:00am.

      Which is a bit of a problem for the Israeli narrative, since it means that the IDF artillery was blazing away with its retaliatory fire BEFORE the clash had even taken place.

      Which, when you think about it, is chronologically impossible.

      (Though the time-travel-paradox goes away if he accept Hamas’ tweets, since that chronology places the clash of arms between 6am – 7am, the ceasefire at 8am, and the IDF’s Hannibal! Hannibal! artillery barrage at 9am)

      Reply to Comment
      • Goldmarx

        “Hamas possess a twitter-time-machine.

        Not only that, but Hamas shot down BOTH Malaysia airplanes and is responsible for the Ebola virus that soon may be spreading throughout the US!!

        Reply to Comment
    2. bar

      So 972 is now pushing Hamas’s psychological warfare? Goldin was killed in an Israeli air strike? Yesterday they didn’t even want to acknowledge they had him and that a “rogue” cell had disappeared. Yesterday, Hamas claimed Israel violated the cease fire by “moving troops” but today it’s giving us a whole new timeline that makes ZERO SENSE.

      But I knew I would find it on 972mag, the voice of the Palestinian “resistance.”

      Reply to Comment
    3. carl

      BAR, but did you read well: “the death toll since the start of the Israeli offensive has surpassed 1,650, at least 315 of them children. More than 8,750 Palestinians have been injured, including 2,307 children”

      How blind can you be to focus just of one soldier of an occupying power?

      Reply to Comment