Israel says missing soldier is dead

Israel says a missing soldier who was believed to be captured by Hamas is dead, according to the Associated Press. 

The Israeli military announced early Sunday morning that Hadar Goldin had been killed in a Friday battle. The 23 year-old was believed to be taken hostage by gunmen during violence in Gaza that broke a temporary ceasefire between Israel soldiers and Hamas, the ruling Palestinian authority. 

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According to the AP, the Israeli defense minister and the chief military rabbi met with Goldin’s family to tell them the news. Supporters had been gathered outside the family’s home to pray, and the crowd was grief-stricken once the announcement was made. 

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said earlier Saturday that defense forces would continue to search for Goldin after he disappeared during the deadly clash on Friday that ended a 72-hour ceasefire and left two other Israeli soldiers dead. 

However, he voted to continue Israel’s offensive in Gaza even as casualties mount, many of them women and children, and critics have questioned his moves. 

“We promise the citizens of Israel to bring back calm and order, and we will continue to operate until this goal is reached no matter how much time it takes,'' Netanyahu said at a press conference.