Hamas armed wing claims taking Israeli soldier as hostage
Hamas’ Izz Al-Din Al-Qassam - REUTERS

CAIRO: Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades, the armed wing of Hamas, announced Sunday it has taken an Israeli soldier hostage in el-Tofah neighborhood in Gaza, al-Quds channel reported.

The captive held by Hamas is Shaul Aaron, soldier number 6092065, according to a video published by al-Qassam Brigades on al-Quds Channel.

However, Qassam announced in a statement on its official website that 14 Israeli soldiers were taken Sunday dawn.

Two Israeli armored vehicles tried to approach Tofah but members of the Hamas militant group ambushed the Israeli soldiers in a minefield filled with explosive barrels and initiated explosions, the militants then attacked the two vehicles and all 14 soldiers inside them were taken, the statement said.

The Israeli army announced Sunday that seven of the 13 soldiers in the armored personnel carrier were hit by anti-tank forces, The Jerusalem Post reported.

The total number of Israeli soldiers killed reached 18 as well as two civilians since the beginning of the Israeli offensive which expanded Thursday to a ground incursion into Gaza, The Jerusalem Post added.

More than 400 Palestinians have been killed and 2,600 injured since the start of the ongoing conflict, Palestinian Ministry of Health announced Saturday evening.

The latest Israeli raids on Gaza began July 1, a day after Israel found the bodies of three kidnapped settlers in the West Bank. The body of Palestinian Mohamed Abo Khodeir, 16, was found mutilated and burned, in what is widely seen as a revenge killing for the death of the Israelis.

The Israeli military said it attacked 34 targets in Gaza, mostly belonging to Hamas, claiming that it did not link the strikes to the abductions, Reuters reported. Hamas started launching rockets into Israel in its latest campaign on July 4, the Jerusalem Post reported.

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