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Israeli searches for 'abducted' officer in Gaza

JERUSALEM Israeli army on Saturday continued to wage military operations in Rafah city in southern Gaza Strip in search for an Israeli officer claimed to have been captured by Palestinian fighters. Large Israeli military units continue to search for missing Lieutenant Hadar Godin, Israel's army radio reported. Earlier on Saturday, army spokesman Moti Almoza was quoted as saying by Israel's Channel 10 that the Israeli military still has no information on the officer's whereabouts. A 72-hour humanitarian truce in the Gaza Strip that started at 8:00am (0500 GMT) on Friday collapsed when Israeli forces accused Hamas of abducting the officer and killing two others. At least 62 were killed in Israeli attacks in Rafah following the collapse of the truce on Friday. Hamas, for its part, denied any knowledge of the officer's abduction. The truce was mediated by United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and United States Secretary of States John Kerry. Israel and the Palestinians should have sent negotiators to discuss a durable ceasefire in the Egyptian capital Cairo.
Israel has been pounding the Gaza Strip with aerial, naval and ground assaults for nearly a month, with the stated aim of undermining rocket-firing capabilities by Palestinian factions.
The offensive has left at least 1,650 Palestinians – mostly civilians – dead and nearly 9,000 injured.
According to Israeli figures, at least 63 soldiers have been killed in battles with Palestinian fighters in Gaza and three civilians by rocket fire.

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