Israel denies Hamas claims of kidnapped soldier
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Analysis

Israel denies Hamas claims of kidnapped soldier

Palestinians across West Bank and Gaza celebrate rumor with fireworks and gunfire

Avi Issacharoff

Avi Issacharoff, The Times of Israel's Middle East analyst, fills the same role for Walla, the leading portal in Israel. He is also a guest commentator on many different radio shows and current affairs programs on television. Until 2012, he was a reporter and commentator on Arab affairs for the Haaretz newspaper. He also lectures on modern Palestinian history at Tel Aviv University, and is currently writing a script for an action-drama series for the Israeli satellite Television "YES." Born in Jerusalem, he graduated cum laude from Ben Gurion University with a B.A. in Middle Eastern studies and then earned his M.A. from Tel Aviv University on the same subject, also cum laude. A fluent Arabic speaker, Avi was the Middle East Affairs correspondent for Israeli Public Radio covering the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, the war in Iraq and the Arab countries between the years 2003-2006. Avi directed and edited short documentary films on Israeli television programs dealing with the Middle East. In 2002 he won the "best reporter" award for the "Israel Radio” for his coverage of the second intifada. In 2004, together with Amos Harel, he wrote "The Seventh War - How we won and why we lost the war with the Palestinians." A year later the book won an award from the Institute for Strategic Studies for containing the best research on security affairs in Israel. In 2008, Issacharoff and Harel published their second book, entitled "34 Days - The Story of the Second Lebanon War," which won the same prize.

Palestinians dance while flying a Palestinian Islamic Jihad Movement flag reading in Arabic "there is only one God and Muhammad is his prophet," during celebrations in the West Bank city of Ramallah, late Sunday, July 20, 2014.  (photo credit: AP Photo/Nasser Nasser)
Palestinians dance while flying a Palestinian Islamic Jihad Movement flag reading in Arabic "there is only one God and Muhammad is his prophet," during celebrations in the West Bank city of Ramallah, late Sunday, July 20, 2014. (photo credit: AP Photo/Nasser Nasser)

Israel has consistently denied a claim by Hamas Sunday night to have captured an IDF soldier during fighting in the Gaza Strip.

The military wing of Hamas, Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades, announced that it had captured the Israeli in Shejaiya.

During a press conference, the group gave a name for the ostensible prisoner and even presented a military ID number.

The name given by Hamas was very similar to the name of one of the soldiers confirmed killed in the fighting in Shejaiya early Sunday morning.

Israel’s UN ambassador denied on Sunday that an Israeli soldier had been abducted by Hamas.

“There is no kidnapped Israeli soldier and those rumors are untrue,” said Ron Prosor.

Still, while the bodies of the seven soldiers who were on the destroyed APC are still undergoing final identification, the claim was being investigated by Israel.

The family of the soldier was told that their son was slain, and that his body is in the Abu Kabir Forensic Institute.

Regardless, the Hamas announcement led to elation across the West Bank, and fireworks and celebratory gunfire in the Gaza Strip.

AFP contributed to this report. 

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