Israel has withdrawn from the 72-hour truce in the Gaza Strip in the wake of gross Hamas violations just two hours after the lull went into effect Friday at 8 a.m. The IDF spokesmen said that an Israeli soldier was feared kidnapped by Hamas while dealing with a tunnel in Rafah. He has been identified as Givati officer, 1st Lt. Hadar Goldin, 23, from Kfar Saba. Deputy head of the Hamas politburo Mussa Abu Marzuk claimed in Cairo that “an Israeli officer was taken prisoner.” Military sources said later the abduction was not certain, placing the Hamas claim in doubt in the absence of evidence. His family has been informed. Israel forces are scouring the area for the missing officer.
The apparent abducton occurred when a team of Israeli soldiers working on a terror tunnel in Rafah came under Hamas and Islamic Jihad fire and a suicide terrorist jumped out of the tunnel and blew himself up.
Firday, southern Israel was back on high alert from the early hours of the ceasefire as Hamas let loose with more than a score of rockets and mortar shells.
IDF tanks, artillery, air force and special forces retaliated with heavy artillery fire and air strikes against Hamas and Islamic Jihad targets in the Rafah sector of southern Gaza. The Palestinians report many dead and casualties.
Israel has informed the US, UN and Egypt it is suspending its consent to the 72-hour truce in the Gaza Strip and participation in the Cairo talks in the wake of gross Hamas violations just two hours after the lull went into effect Friday at 8 a.m.
They peaked in an attack on an IDF tunnel team in Rafah in which two soldiers were killed and Israeli Givati officer, 1st Lt. Hadar Goldin, 23, from Kfar Saba, was abducted. The IDF reported two Israeli soldiers killed in the same Hamas attack in which an Israeli soldier was feared captured while disarming a tunnel in Rafah. The missing officer was identified as Givati officer, 1st Lt. Hadar Goldin, 23, from Kfar Saba.
Deputy head of the Hamas politburo Mussa Abu Marzuk confirmed in Cairo that “an Israeli officer was taken prisoner.” Military sources said later the abduction was not certain, placing the Hamas claim in doubt. His family has been informed that the officer is missing.
The two soldiers were killed when Hamas and Islamic Jihad attacked the IDF team working on the terror tunnel, after the truce went into effect. A suicide terrorist jumped out of the tunnel and blew himself up.
Southern Israel is back on high alert since in the early hours of the ceasefire, since when Hamas has let loose a score of rockets and mortar shells.
IDF tanks, artillery, air force and special forces retaliated with heavy fire against Hamas and Islamic Jihad targets in the Rafah sector of southern Gaza. The Palestinians report 90 dead and many wounded.
A senior Israeli officer warned that the on-again off-again truces place Israeli servicemen in harm’s way..
The Israeli cabinet has scheduled a special session for 5.30 p.m. Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu briefed US Secretary of State John Kerry on the violations of the humanitarian ceasefire by Hamas and other terrorist organizations and vowed they would pay dear for their actions.
The White House condemned the Hamas attack in the course of an agreed truce as “barbaric.”
DEBKAfile reported Thursday night:
The 72-hour hour unconditional, humanitarian ceasefire announced by the US and UN, was scheduled to begin at 8 pm local time Friday. The US State Department said that military forces will stay in place. The US and UN said they had assurances that all parties to the conflict had agreed to an unconditional cease-fire during which there would be negotiations on a more durable truce.
This was confirmed early Friday by a source in the Israeli Prime Minister’s Office in Jerusalem. The Paletinian Hamas and Jihad Islami also confirmed acceptance of the ceasefire, following which they fired two rockets into Israel.
Israeli and Palestinian delegations will “immediately” be going to Cairo for negotiations with the Egyptian government to try at reach a more permanent cease-fire, the State Department said.
“During this period, civilians in Gaza will receive urgently needed humanitarian relief, and the opportunity to carry out vital functions, including burying the dead, taking care of the injured, and restocking food supplies. Overdue repairs on essential water and energy infrastructure could also continue during this period.”
During the cease-fire, Israel will be able to continue its defense operations to destroy tunnels that are behind its territorial lines.
“We hope this moment can be grabbed by both parties, but no one can force them to do that,” US Secretary of State John Kerry said.
The Palestinian delegation is expected to include members of Hamas, which the United States and Israel consider a terrorist organization and cannot be negotiated with directly. So if the Israelis and Palestinians meet face to face, the Hamas members will not participate in those talks. The Egyptians will be the go-between for all of this and will help coordinate, a senior State Department official said,