Hamas’ military wing released a statement Saturday saying it had “lost contact” with the Hamas group involved in Friday’s cease-fire ambush and believes all were killed in Israeli military strikes in the area. This was the same group that allegedly captured 2nd Lt. Hadar Goldin, and Hamas said he also likely died in the strikes.
"The Izz ad-Din Al-Qassam Brigades has no information on this soldier,” the statement said. “We have lost contact with the combatant group that took part in the ambush, and we believe its members were killed in the [Israeli] strikes. Assuming they managed to capture the soldier during the battle, we believe he may have also been killed."
After the cease-fire fell through, Israel launched some if its most brutal attacks on Rafah that left at least 180 Palestinians dead in 24 hours. The Gaza Health Ministry said Saturday at least 80 people were killed pushing the death toll past 1,670 in the last 26 days.
Friday and Saturday’s attacks began less than two hours after a unilateral cease-fire had been called in Gaza. U.S. officials and Israel blame Hamas for violating the truce with an ambush in Rafah that killed two Israeli soldiers. A third soldier is missing. Hamas is not taking responsibility and blames Israel for breaking the truce, claiming it used the pause in fighting to advance its troops.
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“Zionist enemy forces used the talks about a humanitarian cease-fire to advance troops more than two kilometers inside the Gaza Strip to the east of Rafah,” the statement said. “Our assessment is that one of our deployed ambushes clashed with the advancing troops. The clash started around 7 a.m., before the humanitarian cease-fire. Enemy artillery and air force directed its fire on civilians after 10 a.m. in a flagrant violation of the cease-fire, under the pretext of searching for a missing soldier.”