JERUSALEM (JTA) — Israel’s ambassador to the United Nations denied a claim by Hamas that it was holding a soldier who had been captured in Gaza.
“There’s no kidnapped Israeli soldier and those rumors are untrue,” Ron Prosor said Monday.
The soldier named by Hamas, Shaul Aron, was among the 13 Israeli soldiers believed to have been killed in heavy fighting in Gaza City’s Shujaiya neighborhood on Sunday. The Israel Defense Forces had not provided a complete list of the dead as of Monday afternoon.
Hamas did not say whether the soldier was dead or alive and has provided no proof that it was holding him.
The Israeli army has neither confirmed nor denied the rumor.
Following the announcement of the alleged capture by Hamas’ military wing late Sunday night, fireworks and celebrations were held in cities including Ramallah, Hebron and Bethlehem, according to the Palestinian Maan news agency.
Among Hamas demands for a cease-fire with Israel is the release of Hamas members who were rearrested by Israel in recent weeks after being freed in the Gilad Shalit prisoner exchange.