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Israeli soldier 'missing', Palestinians 'killed' in new Gaza raids

Israeli soldier 'missing', Palestinians 'killed' in new Gaza raids
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Israel has kept up its bombardment of the Gaza Strip on Tuesday morning, as the conflict enters its 15th day.

The Hamas health ministry said seven Palestinians were killed in the latest strikes, including five members of the same family – among them four women – who died in the southern part of the territory.

An Israeli soldier is missing, presumed dead, according to the military as quoted in the country’s media.

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’ 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.

Last Thursday Israel launched a ground offensive into the Gaza Strip.

On Monday Hamas accused Israel of committing a “holocaust” in Gaza, claiming an air raid had killed 11 members of the same family as they ate a Ramadan meal.

The health ministry said on Tuesday that 583 Palestinians had died in the past fortnight, with 3,640 injured.

At least 29 Israelis, all but two of them soldiers, have been killed since the start of the Israeli offensive, designed to stop the volleys of Hamas rockets and destroy its network of tunnels threatening Israelis living close to the border with Gaza.

The violence has spilled over into the West Bank. In Ramallah pro-Gaza protesters clashed with soldiers near a checkpoint on Monday night.

In Bethlehem demonstrators threw stones at an Israeli watch tower; soldiers fired tear gas. A Palestinian youth was shot dead.

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