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Published: Tuesday July 22, 2014 MYT 3:45:03 PM
Updated: Tuesday July 22, 2014 MYT 3:45:03 PM

Israeli soldier missing, presumed dead in Gaza - media

JERUSALEM (Reuters) - An Israeli soldier is missing in the Gaza Strip and presumed dead, local media quoted the military as saying on Tuesday, two days after the Islamist Hamas group announced they had captured a soldier during clashes.

Israel's Channel 10 News said the military believed the man was killed along with six other troops in an attack on an armoured vehicle on Sunday. However, the army has only identified six bodies.

Hamas on Sunday announced it had captured an Israeli soldier, but did not say whether he was dead or alive.

Abu Ubaida, the spokesman of the Hamas's armed wing, said the soldier was seized in heavy fighting on the Gaza border on Sunday. He displayed a photo ID and army serial number of the man, but showed no image of him in their hands.

An Israeli military statement on Tuesday said the army had completed the identification of six of the soldiers killed and that "efforts to identify the seventh soldier are ongoing and have yet to be determined".

It had already announced the seven deaths on Sunday, but did not immediately release all the names of the dead.

Israel on Thursday launched a ground offensive into the Gaza Strip. The deadliest conflict in five years between Israel and the Palestinians has killed almost 550 Palestinians, many of them civilians, and 29 Israelis, 27 of them soldiers.

Hamas gained Palestinian acclaim and plaudits from backers in the Arab world when in 2011 it secured the release of an abducted Israeli conscript soldier, who was held five years, freeing more than 1,000 Palestinians prisoners in the process.

(Reporting by Maayan Lubell, Editing by Crispian Balmer)

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