Promoters of a Sunday soccer final in the Gaza Strip used images of dead Israeli soldiers whose bodies have not been recovered from Gaza in posters to advertise the event, playing on the fact that the two soldiers were killed in the home neighborhoods of the contesting soccer teams.
Photographs of IDF soldiers Lt. Hadar Goldin and Staff Sgt. Oron Shaul were displayed on banners and posters for the game between Khadamat Rafah and Itehad Shejaiya.
The two soldiers were killed in 2014 during the summer war in Gaza. Their bodies are believed to be held by Hamas.
The poster for the game announces that “the two pillars of the kidnapped soldiers are at the end of the Gaza Strip Cup.”
On July 20, 2014, Shaul was one of seven Israeli soldiers critically wounded when, amid fierce battles in the Shejaiya neighborhood of Gaza City, his armored personnel carrier, stuck in the middle of a city street, was hit by a Hamas anti-tank rocket. The army was able to recover the remains of six soldiers but found no trace of Shaul.
Goldin was killed in a surprise attack on August 1, 2014, as a temporary ceasefire during the 7-week conflict was due to begin, and his body was dragged into a tunnel by Gazan fighters.
Gaza-based sources claimed 2,100 Palestinians were killed and tens of thousands more left homeless as the IDF battled against Hamas in the coastal enclave in July and August 2014, dubbed Operation Protective Edge.
Israel, which lost 66 soldiers and six civilians in the conflict, said half the Palestinians killed were combatants and that the high civilian toll in Gaza was due to fighters there embedding their military infrastructure in residential areas.
In April 2015 Ruhi Mushtaha, a senior Hamas official who was released from prison as part of a deal that secured freedom for kidnapped IDF soldier Gilad Shalit, said “Hamas will not reveal anything about the fate of the soldiers missing in Gaza without a price,” indicating that Hamas intends to use the missing soldiers as bargaining chips with Israel.
In October 2011, Israel swapped 1,027 Palestinian prisoners in exchange for IDF soldier Gilad Shalit, who was held captive by Hamas for five years.