Israel soldier 'kidnapped' by Hamas is dead: Army

AFP , Tuesday 22 Jul 2014

The Israeli army on Tuesday confirmed that a soldier who Hamas militants claimed they had kidnapped is dead and his body remains unaccounted for.

The army named the soldier, whose body is still missing, as Oron Shaul, two days after Hamas said they had kidnapped an Israeli soldier of the same name.

A spokeswoman said Israeli pathologists had identified 12 out of 13 soldiers killed in Gaza over the weekend but that 21-year-old Shaul's body was still unaccounted for.

The Israeli army claims that Hamas was likely to be holding the soldier's remains, although it was not clear if the entire body or only part of it was missing.

Israeli dog tags carry a soldier's name and his army number, and are designed to be broken in two, with half worn around the neck and the other half inserted into his boot to allow for identification in the event of death.

Shaul was part of a group of seven troops from the elite Golani unit who died in an attack on an armoured vehicle in Gaza.

A spokeswoman flatly denied any possibility that the soldier was alive.

"The identification process of six of the soldiers killed has been completed and confirmed. The efforts to identify the seventh soldier are ongoing and have yet to be determined," an army statement said.

The army refused to confirm or deny Hamas' claim on Sunday night, saying it was investigating, although Israel's ambassador to the UN Ron Prosor said the rumours of an abduction were "untrue".

*This story has been edited by Ahram Online.

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