GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip (AP) — Israeli forces are moving deeper into southern Gaza, searching for a soldier who was apparently captured during a clash with Hamas militants earlier in the day. The forces are being backed by heavy tank fire and airstrikes.
More than 60 Palestinians and two Israeli soldiers have been killed today in fighting that quickly shattered a cease-fire brokered by the United States. The truce collapsed less than two hours after it began.
The Israeli Cabinet has been meeting in a rare Sabbath session to consider options, including whether to expand the 25-day-old operation against Hamas.
In Gaza’s southern Rafah area, the Israeli military is urging residents in phone calls to stay indoors as troops advance.
Both Israel and Hamas accused each other of breaking the cease-fire, which had been announced by the U.S. and the U.N. and took effect at 8 a.m.
U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon blamed Hamas for violating what was meant to be a three-day humanitarian cease-fire. The U.N. chief demanded the immediate and unconditional release of the missing soldier.
An hour after the cease-fire began, Israel says, gunmen emerged from one or more Gaza tunnels and opened fire at Israeli soldiers. That’s when the Israeli soldier, identified as Hadar Goldin, disappeared — apparently taken back into Gaza through a tunnel — while another two soldiers were killed.
190-a-17-(Lieutenant Colonel Peter Lerner, spokesman, Israel Defense Forces, in AP interview)-“is the fact”-Israel Defense Forces spokesman Lieutenant Colonel Peter Lerner says troops were “sitting on their hands” during the cease-fire, at the request of the U.N. and U.S., when they were attacked. (1 Aug 2014)
191-a-17-(Lieutenant Colonel Peter Lerner, spokesman, Israel Defense Forces, in AP interview)-“abducted our officer”-Israel Defense Forces spokesman Lieutenant Colonel Peter Lerner says abductions have become one of the modes of operation for Hamas. (1 Aug 2014)
APPHOTO SEB101: This undated photo shows Israeli Army 2nd. Lt. Hadar Goldin, 23 from Kfar Saba, central Israel. Israeli army spokesman Lt. Col. Peter Lerner said Friday, Aug. 1, 2014 that Goldin was apparently captured by Hamas militants who came through a tunnel from the Gaza Strip and another two soldiers were killed. An hour after Friday’s cease-fire started, gunmen emerged from one or more Gaza tunnels and opened fire at Israeli soldiers, with at least one of the militants detonating an explosives vest, said Lerner. Goldin was apparently captured during the ensuing mayhem and taken back into Gaza through a tunnel. (AP Photo/YNet News) (1 Aug 2014)
APPHOTO XAH115: A Palestinian stands in front of his family house destroyed in an Israeli attack in the Bureij refugee camp in the central Gaza Strip on Friday, Aug. 1, 2014. (AP Photo/Adel Hana) (1 Aug 2014)
Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.