July 20, 2014 – There was wild celebration in Gaza and West Bank on Sunday following claim by Quassam Brigade, the military wing of Hamas that it has captured an Israeli soldier even as Israel suffered the worst casualty since it began a ground offensive on Gaza about three days ago.
Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri made the announcement on TV.
Israel has confirmed that it has lost 18 soldiers but has refused to confirm or deny Hamas’s claim of capturing the soldier.
Gaza suffered the highest death toll since the offensive began, with at least 87 people reported killed on Sunday, 60 of them in one area.
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas described the deaths in the Shejaiya district east of Gaza City as a “massacre”.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has however vowed to continue operations in Gaza despite the casualties. He said the Israeli government felt “deep pain” over deaths of its soldiers, and that Hamas, not Israel was responsible for the escalation in Gaza.
The soldiers killed on Sunday were all from the Golani Brigade, the Israel Defense Forces said.