Israeli soldier Hadar Goldin is seen in this undated family handout provided on August 2, 2014 (Photo: Reuters)
In a press statement issued on Sunday, Ezzat Al-Rasheq – member of Hamas' political bureau – said that Israel falsely declared the abduction of a soldier in order to resume its offensive on the Gaza Strip following a 72-hour ceasefire reached last Friday.
"Israel deceived UN chief Ban Ki-moon when it claimed the abduction of its soldier in Rafah, then later claimed he was killed in clashes, taking advantage of the whole situation to violate the ceasefire and commit horrifying massacres in southern Rafah against civilians, including women and children," Al-Rasheq said.
Al-Rasheq called on the United Nations to change its "biased position" towards the Israeli occupation and apologise to the Palestinian people for rushing to hold Hamas responsible for breaking the 72-hour ceasefire.
A planned 72-hour truce in the Gaza Strip fell apart just hours after it was implemented on Friday morning as both sides accused the other of instigating the violence.
"We suspect that a group of Hamas terrorists, including a suicide attacker, kidnapped 2nd.Lt. Goldin at 9:30am and dragged him into a tunnel," the Israeli army said on its official Twitter account on Friday.
Hadar Goldin, 23, from Kfar Saba, was captured by Palestinian fighters during clashes in the southern part of the territory, an Israeli military spokesman said.
However, in a statement by the Israeli army, a special committee led by the army's chief rabbi announced on Sunday that Goldin had died during a battle in Gaza. There was no government word on the whereabouts of the soldier's remains.
According to British broadcaster Channel 4 news, the soldier is from a British Jewish family, and is also a third cousin of Israel’s defence minister, Moshe Ya'alon.
In Gaza, 1,766 Palestinians have been killed and another 9,320 wounded since the start of the Israeli offensive on 8 July.
Figures released by the UN humanitarian agency OCHA on 2 August gave a total of 1,525 dead.
Of the 1,196 killed whose identities could be verified, 1,033 were civilians, nearly 84 percent, OCHA said. The number includes 329 children and 187 women.
Of the Palestinians killed, 191 were members of armed groups.
On the other side, 66 Israelis have been killed, including 64 soldiers, all of whom have died since the ground offensive began.