Israel Shells Gaza As It Searches For Soldier
August 02, 2014
Israel has bombarded the southern Gaza town of Rafah as troops searched for a soldier believed captured by Hamas in an ambush that shattered a 72-hour cease-fire.
At least 35 Palestinians were killed in the bombardment and shelling in and around the city of Rafah on August 2.
Israel has said it believes the soldier was grabbed in a Hamas ambush after an internationally brokered cease-fire took effect August 1.
Hamas has denied that it captured Second-Lieutenant Hadar Goldin.
It said that it lost contact with militants who were operating in the area where Israel Goldin went missing on August 1.
Hamas said the fighters and Goldin may have been killed.
Israeli planes on August 2 launched strikes against the Islamic University in Gaza, causing serious damage to the building. The Israeli army said there was a 'weapons development center' inside the university.
Separately, the Israeli military told Palestinians who had fled fighting in the northern Gaza town of Beit Lahiya that they could return on August 2, signaling its offensive in the area was winding down.
Meanwhile, Egypt's President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi said on August 2 that a cease-fire plan proposed by his country offered the chance to end the Gaza conflict between Israel and Hamas. But Sisi warned that lost time further complicated matters.
A Palestinian delegation, including Hamas officials, was due to arrive later on August 2 in Cairo for new talks.
An Israeli official, however, said Israel will not send envoys to negotiations in Egypt, accusing Hamas Islamists of misleading international mediators.
More than 1,500 Palestinians, mostly civilians, have been killed since Israel began its offensive in Gaza three weeks ago.
On the Israeli side, 61 soldiers and three civilians have died.
With reporting by AP and Reuters
Copyright (c) 2014. RFE/RL, Inc. Reprinted with the permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 1201 Connecticut Ave., N.W. Washington DC 20036.
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