Israel: We're Missing a Soldier in Gaza

Kerry in Cairo talks as Palestinian death toll nears 600

By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff

Posted Jul 22, 2014 4:39 AM CDT | Updated Jul 22, 2014 7:53 AM CDT

(Newser) – Does Hamas have another Israeli captive? After denying yesterday that an Israeli soldier had been captured, Israeli officials now admit that a soldier is missing but say he is presumed to have been killed when a missile hit an armored personnel carrier transporting seven soldiers in Gaza on Sunday, the BBC reports. "The identification process of six of the soldiers killed has been completed and confirmed," the Israeli military said in a statement. "The efforts to identify the seventh soldier are ongoing and have yet to be determined." Gilad Shalit, the last Israeli soldier captured by Hamas, was freed in 2011 after five years of captivity in return for the release of more than 1,000 Palestinian prisoners. In other developments:

  • The death toll among Israeli soldiers has climbed to 27, the Israeli military says. UNICEF says the Palestinian toll is close to 600, a third of them children. The Palestinian dead include 26 members of one family—19 of them children—killed in a strike in southern Gaza yesterday. Four of the Israeli soldiers were killed by militants who emerged from a tunnel inside Israeli territory.

  • John Kerry and UN chief Ban Ki-moon are to hold talks with Egyptian mediators in Cairo today, though analysts say the chances of a breakthrough appear slim, CNN reports. Yesterday, Kerry pledged $47 million in humanitarian assistance to Gaza and said, "Hamas now needs to make the decision to spare innocent civilians from this violence."
  • Israeli officials say they have found more tunnels from Gaza than they expected and seem reluctant to end the offensive before they're eliminated, the New York Times finds. Hamas, for its part, appears unwilling to back down until its demands are met. "We'll never go back to the period before the aggression. We'll never go back to the slow death," former Hamas Prime Minister Ismail Haniya said in a televised address. "Gaza will be the graveyard for the invaders, as it always was in history."
  • One note of hope came from Egypt's foreign minister, who suggests talks could not only solve the Gaza crisis but restart the wider peace process, the AP reports. Ahead of talks with Kerry, the minister said he aimed to work with the US and other world powers "to not only resolve this issue but also to set in motion once again the peace process that Secretary Kerry has been so actively involved in so as to end this ongoing conflict between the Palestinians and the Israelis."

Smoke rises as flames spread across buildings after Israeli strikes in the Shijaiyah neighborhood in Gaza City today.
Smoke rises as flames spread across buildings after Israeli strikes in the Shijaiyah neighborhood in Gaza City today.   (AP Photo/Khalil Hamra)
Flames spread across buildings after Israeli strikes in the Shijaiyah neighborhood in Gaza City early today.
Flames spread across buildings after Israeli strikes in the Shijaiyah neighborhood in Gaza City early today.   (AP Photo/Khalil Hamra)
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