IDF denies Hamas claim to have captured soldiers in new Gaza incident

‘There is no incident of a soldier’s kidnapping,’ says military after Hamas releases unverified clip showing body being dragged on ground in tunnel

IDF troops operate in northern Gaza's Jabaliya, in an image cleared for publication on May 25, 2024. (Israel Defense Forces)
IDF troops operate in northern Gaza's Jabaliya, in an image cleared for publication on May 25, 2024. (Israel Defense Forces)

The Israel Defense Forces early Sunday swiftly denied a claim by Hamas that Israeli soldiers had been captured by the terror group in a new incident in the Gaza Strip.

“The IDF clarifies that there is no incident of a soldier’s kidnapping,” the military said in a brief statement, shortly after a spokesman for Hamas’s military wing claimed that the terror group had killed and then abducted Israeli troops during fighting in northern Gaza’s Jabaliya.

“Our fighters lured a Zionist force into an ambush inside a tunnel… The fighters withdrew after they left all members of the force dead, wounded, and captured,” Hudhaifa Kahlout — known by the nom de guerre Abu Obeida — the spokesman for the Al Qassam Brigades, said in a recorded message broadcast by Al Jazeera early on Sunday.

The IDF pushed into Jabaliya earlier this month for the third time amid the war, in an operation focused on killing Hamas cells that regrouped in the city’s historic refugee camp, an area that the military had not reached previously.

The fighting has been described by the IDF and some officers as “intense” and the “most violent” amid the war, with many engagements, both above ground and with Hamas operatives using tunnels. The IDF has also recovered the bodies of seven slain hostages from tunnels in Jabaliya.

With Abu Obeida’s statement, Hamas released a video that appeared to show a bloodied person being dragged along the ground in a tunnel. The identity of the person and their condition could not be immediately verified.

Also presented in the video were images of military gear and three submachine guns, which are not commonly used by the Israeli military.

This image released in a Hamas video on May 26, 2024, purports to show weapons that belonged to Israeli forces the terror group claimed to have killed and abducted in the Gaza Strip. (Screenshot: Telegram)

Unlike previous videos issued by Hamas, the clip released early Sunday was not dated.

On October 7, some 3,000 terrorists poured across the border with Israel in an unprecedented Hamas-led attack, killing some 1,200 people — mostly civilians — and kidnapping 252, including around two dozen soldiers — some of whom were killed amid the onslaught.

Israel declared war on Hamas in response, launching an offensive aimed at toppling the Gaza-ruling terror group and securing the release of the hostages.

The Hamas-run Gaza health ministry says more than 35,000 people in the Strip have been killed or are presumed dead in the fighting so far, though only some 24,000 fatalities have been identified at hospitals. The tolls, which cannot be verified, include some 15,000 terror operatives Israel says it has killed in battle. Israel also says it killed some 1,000 terrorists inside Israel on October 7.

Two hundred and eighty-six soldiers have been killed during the ground offensive against Hamas and amid operations along the Gaza border. A civilian Defense Ministry contractor has also been killed in the Strip.

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