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Israel declares missing soldier dead

Israel army on Sunday declared Second Lieutenant Hadar Goldin, who went missing in the Gaza Strip, dead. In a statement, the army said a panel led by the Chief Military Rabbi considered the Givati commander had been killed in the battlefield in the southern city of Rafah on Friday. The statement said that all religious, medical and other relevant considerations had been taken before declaring the soldier dead. According to the statement, Goldin's family had been told of the announcement. Earlier Saturday, Goldin's family called on the Israeli government not to withdraw from the Gaza Strip before bringing him back. Israel has accused Palestinian faction Hamas of abducting Goldin in Rafah during a 72-hour humanitarian ceasefire in the Gaza Strip on Friday. Hamas, for its part, denied any knowledge of the abduction, arguing that the Israeli accusations aim to cover up what it described as "massacres" in the Gaza Strip. Israel has been pounding the Gaza Strip for the past four weeks with the stated aim of halting rocket fire. At least 1719 Palestinians have been killed and more than 9000 others injured in the ongoing Israeli attacks on the Gaza Strip since July 7, according to Palestinian medics. According to Israeli figures, at least 63 Israeli soldiers have been killed in battles with Palestinian fighters in Gaza and three civilians by rocket fire.

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