Lieutenant Hadar Goldin, 23, who was thought to have been abducted by Hamas on Friday, was reported by the Huffington Post and confirmed by the Israeli military on Saturday, to have been killed in action.
According to a spokesman for the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) the evidence points to Goldin being killed when Hamas soldiers attacked his unit. Lieutenant Goldin was working to destroy a Hamas tunnel in the town of Rafah when his entire unit was attacked.
After it was thought Goldin had been abducted during a clash with Hamas, in retaliation Israel Defense Forces killed dozens of Palestinians.
Israel continued with airstrikes on Saturday, killing at least 72 Palestinians while conducting extensive searches for Goldin in the northern border town of Rafah where Goldin was thought to have been abducted. The destruction around Rafah has been massive by Israel Defense Forces. Entire apartment buildings in Rafah have been flattened and nearly two dozen bodies were seen wrapped in bloodstained white cloth in a cold storage room.
During a televised address by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu he said demolishing the tunnels dug out by Hamas into Israel is the primary goal saying “the military will prepare for continuing action in according to our security needs” stressing all options of action by Israel Defense Forces will remain on the table.
"We promised to return the quiet to Israel and that is what we will do. We will continue to act until that goal is reached, however long it will take and with as much force needed," Netanyahu said. "Hamas needs to understand that it will pay an intolerable price as far as it is concerned for continuing to fire."
Earlier in the day on Saturday, Cabinet Minister Yuval Steinitz told Israel’s Channel 10 television station that Israel will not participate in proposed truce talks in Cairo since Hamas has repeatedly violated previous cease-fire deals.
Hamas spokesman Fawzi Barhoum dismissed Netanyahu’s remarks in a defiant message saying “We will continue to resist until we achieve our goals.”
According to health official Ashraf al-Kidra, the death toll in the Gaza Strip continues to rise with at least 1,712 Palestinians being killed, mostly civilians, since the war began on July 8. At least 9,000 Palestinians have been wounded. In Israel, 64 soldiers and three civilians have died making Israel’s casualties the highest since its 2006 war with Lebanon’s Hezbollah.
At least 250,000 Palestinians have been forced to flee their homes in the Gaza Strip as more than 500 homes have been destroyed by Israeli airstrikes.