Hamas Kidnaps IDF Soldier, Ending U.S.-Backed Ceasefire
Multiple news outlets report from Israel that the Hamas terrorist group attacked Israel Defense Forces in the southern portion of the Gaza Strip on Friday morning, 90 minutes after the start of a freshly agreed 72-hour humanitarian ceasefire, and that they captured one Israeli soldier for the first time int the 26-day conflict.
The reported kidnapping ended the ceasefire shortly after it began, and the two sides are engaged once more in fully-fledged conflict as Israel conducts a desperate hunt for its missing soldier. In 2006, Hamas kidnapped Cpl. Gilad Shalit, triggered a war and trading him several years later for over 1,000 terror detainees held by Israel.
The Times of Israel reports that Hamas claims to have kidnapped the soldier before the truce took effect, but other sources agree that the attack happened after the start of the ceasefire. Even if the attack had happened before the ceasefire, it represents a significant escalation of the conflict, which Hamas had to have anticipated.
The ceasefire was announced by the U.S. and the United Nations on Thursday, after both had insisted for days on an immediate halt to fighting, with a view to achieving a long-term agreement. The prospects of such talks are now zero, and Israelis are certain to blame international pressure for creating an opportunity for Hamas.