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Despite cease-fire declaration, heavy fighting in Gaza, IDF soldier possible kidnap victim
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Despite cease-fire declaration, heavy fighting in Gaza, IDF soldier possible kidnap victim

Palestinian men seen in front of a fire raging at the Gaza’s main power plant following an overnight Israeli airstrike, south of Gaza City, July 29.
Palestinian men seen in front of a fire raging at the Gaza’s main power plant following an overnight Israeli airstrike, south of Gaza City, July 29.

On Friday, Aug. 1, heavy fighting broke out in the Gaza Strip two hours after the start of a cease-fire that Hamas and Israel were supposed to be observing.

Several people were killed in the Gaza Strip in the exchanges of fire that broke out a little after 10 a.m., the Ma’an news agency reported.

A mortar round that was launched at Israel Friday morning at 10 a.m. exploded inside the Gaza Strip, the news site Ynet reported. Another alarm was heard following the detection of a second launch roughly one hour later.

Fighting also broke out between Israeli troops and Hamas militants in the Rafah region in the southern part of the Gaza Strip.

Hamas Health Ministry official Ashraf al-Kidra and Gaza police spokesman Ayman Batniji said 15 other Palestinians were wounded in the shelling east of Rafah, the Associated Press reported.

The cease-fire, announced by U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, was supposed to facilitate Egyptian-hosted talks on ending the hostilities.

* * *

On Friday, the IDF identified second Lt. Hadar Goldin, 23, of Kfar Saba as the victim of a kidnapping.

Hamas fighters reportedly emerged Friday morning from a tunnel near Rafah, in the southern Gaza Strip, not long after the 72-hour cease-fire was to have started. A Palestinian suicide attacker was among the assailants, and Goldin was dragged into a tunnel during exchanges of fire between Hamas fighters and Israeli troops, an IDF spokesperson said.

At least two other Israeli soldiers were killed in the attack, bringing to 63 the total number of Israeli soldiers killed since the launch of Operation Protective Edge.

Israeli officials told UN officials that Israel considered the cease-fire — which was brokered by the United States and the United Nations and was to have begun at 8 a.m. local time — ruptured. The army launched extensive operations to locate the missing soldier.

Moussa Abu Marzouk, a Hamas official based in Cairo, said his group was holding an Israeli officer and that he was captured before the cease-fire’s 8 a.m. start, Israel Radio reported.

IDF officials said the firefight in Rafah and the abduction took place about 90 minutes after the start of the cease-fire, which left Israeli soldiers in place to continue operating against the tunnels in the Gaza Strip.

UN special envoy Robert Serry said in a statement that he was informed by Israel of “a serious incident this morning” during the truce involving “a tunnel behind IDF lines in the Rafah area of the Gaza Strip,” in which two soldiers and multiple Palestinians were killed.

If confirmed, Serry said, “this would constitute a serious violation of the humanitarian cease-fire in place since 8 a.m. this morning by Gazan militant factions, which should be condemned in the strongest terms.”

Heavy fighting broke out after the 8 a.m. deadline, according to multiple reports. Dozens of Palestinians were killed, Palestinian sources told media, and multiple mortar shells were fired at Israel.

On Friday, Aug. 1, heavy fighting broke out in the Gaza Strip two hours after the start of a cease-fire that Hamas and Israel were supposed to be observing.

Several people were killed in the Gaza Strip in the exchanges of fire that broke out a little after 10 a.m., the Ma’an news agency reported.

A mortar round that was launched at Israel Friday morning at 10 a.m. exploded inside the Gaza Strip, the news site Ynet reported. Another alarm was heard following the detection of a second launch roughly one hour later.

Fighting also broke out between Israeli troops and Hamas militants in the Rafah region in the southern part of the Gaza Strip.

Hamas Health Ministry official Ashraf al-Kidra and Gaza police spokesman Ayman Batniji said 15 other Palestinians were wounded in the shelling east of Rafah, the Associated Press reported.

The cease-fire, announced by U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, was supposed to facilitate Egyptian-hosted talks on ending the hostilities.

* * *

On Friday, the IDF identified second Lt. Hadar Goldin, 23, of Kfar Saba as the victim of a kidnapping.

Hamas fighters reportedly emerged Friday morning from a tunnel near Rafah, in the southern Gaza Strip, not long after the 72-hour cease-fire was to have started. A Palestinian suicide attacker was among the assailants, and Goldin was dragged into a tunnel during exchanges of fire between Hamas fighters and Israeli troops, an IDF spokesperson said.

At least two other Israeli soldiers were killed in the attack, bringing to 63 the total number of Israeli soldiers killed since the launch of Operation Protective Edge.

Israeli officials told UN officials that Israel considered the cease-fire — which was brokered by the United States and the United Nations and was to have begun at 8 a.m. local time — ruptured. The army launched extensive operations to locate the missing soldier.

Moussa Abu Marzouk, a Hamas official based in Cairo, said his group was holding an Israeli officer and that he was captured before the cease-fire’s 8 a.m. start, Israel Radio reported.

IDF officials said the firefight in Rafah and the abduction took place about 90 minutes after the start of the cease-fire, which left Israeli soldiers in place to continue operating against the tunnels in the Gaza Strip.

UN special envoy Robert Serry said in a statement that he was informed by Israel of “a serious incident this morning” during the truce involving “a tunnel behind IDF lines in the Rafah area of the Gaza Strip,” in which two soldiers and multiple Palestinians were killed.

If confirmed, Serry said, “this would constitute a serious violation of the humanitarian cease-fire in place since 8 a.m. this morning by Gazan militant factions, which should be condemned in the strongest terms.”

Heavy fighting broke out after the 8 a.m. deadline, according to multiple reports. Dozens of Palestinians were killed, Palestinian sources told media, and multiple mortar shells were fired at Israel.

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