Israeli envoy says soldier kidnap ‘rumors untrue’
Hamas' armed wing, the Qassam Brigades, had claimed it kidnapped Israeli soldier Shaul Aaron a day earlier
Israel's U.N. Ambassador Ron Prosor said on Sunday there was no kidnapped Israeli soldier, dismissing a televised announcement in the Gaza Strip from Hamas's armed wing that it had captured an Israeli soldier during the fighting in Shejaia.
"There's no kidnapped Israeli soldier and those rumors are untrue," Prosor told reporters at the United Nations as the Security Council held an emergency meeting on the escalating crisis between Israel and Palestinians.
Hamas' armed wing had claimed itkidnapped an Israeli soldier on Sunday. In the offensive, Hamas troops made an ambush on Israeli militants in the city’s outskirts in Eastern Gaza.
The announcement of the abduction allegations of Israeli soldier Shaul Aaron soon went viral. Representative Abu Ubaida stated “we have captured a Zionist soldier and the occupation has not admitted that.”
“The Israeli soldier Shaul Aaron is in the hands of the Qassam Brigades,” he added.
AFP correspondents said there were celebrations in the streets of West Bank cities Ramallah and Hebron following Ezzedine al-Qassam Brigades' announcement, with Palestinians shooting guns in the air and praising Hamas.
The claim came on day 13 of the latest flare-up in violence between Israel and Hamas, which has seen the deaths of more than 430 Palestinians and 18 Israelis.
The Qassam Brigades said the soldier had been kidnapped 24 hours earlier during an ambush on Israeli forces in the Tuffah district on the eastern edges of Gaza City.
Hamas last kidnapped an Israeli soldier, Gilad Shalit, in 2006.
He was held until 2011, when he was freed in exchange for more than 1,027 Palestinian prisoners, some of whom have subsequently been rearrested by Israel.