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Cease-fire breaks down: Israeli shelling kills 50 after reported capture of soldier

on 55 Comments
The Israeli army firing shells at Gaza. (Photo: Jack Guez/AFP/Getty Images)

The Israeli army firing shells at Gaza. (Photo: Jack Guez/AFP/Getty Images)

The cease-fire that was supposed to go into effect this morning in Gaza has completely broken down. There are conflicting reports as to who was the first who broke it: Israel or Palestinian militants, who are said to have captured a soldier. The U.S. and Israel are blaming Hamas, though the militant group pointed the finger at Israel.

Whatever the case, the assault on Gaza is now escalating after an Israeli soldier was reportedly captured by militants who, in a suicide attack, ambushed a group of soldiers who were trying to destroy a tunnel in Rafah, the border town near Egypt. Two soldiers were killed in addition to the alleged capture. After the reported capture, Israeli forces heavily shelled Rafah, killing at least 50 people and injuring 220, the Gaza Health Ministry told Reuters. The overall death toll is now over 1,500 people. Israeli forces are now trying to locate the soldier.

The Israeli army says the soldier, 23-year-old British-Israeli Hadar Goldin, is “suspected” to have been captured at around 9:30 am, which is after the 72-hour truce announced last night was supposed to come into affect. Hamas spokespeople have not confirmed that a soldier was captured. “Israel claims that a soldier was captured to hide their crimes and to divert the public opinion to speak of the captured soldier instead,” Hamas official Osama Hamdan said in a statement.  So a full picture has not emerged about what exactly happened this morning, and the New York Times reported:

After the initial publication of this article, the military’s censor informed The New York Times that further information related to the soldier would have to be submitted for prior review. Journalists for foreign news organizations must agree in writing to the military censorship system to work in Israel. This was the first censorship notification The Times had received in more than two years.

Hamas’ militant wing, the Qassam Brigades, says that it was Israel who broke the truce. “There had not been any Israeli soldiers in eastern Rafah for the past 20 days. But as soon as the ceasefire was announced, Israeli movement in the area began at around 2:00 a.m. (They moved) 2.5 kilometers into eastern Rafah,” Qassam Brigades said in a statement.

But Secretary of State John Kerry issued a harsh statement blasting Hamas for what he says was a break in the truce:

The United States condemns in the strongest possible terms today’s attack, which led to the killing of two Israeli soldiers and the apparent abduction of another. It was an outrageous violation of the cease-fire negotiated over the past several days, and of the assurances given to the United States and the United Nations.

Hamas, which has security control over the Gaza Strip, must immediately and unconditionally release the missing Israeli soldier, and I call on those with influence over Hamas to reinforce this message.

Last night, the U.S. and the United Nations announced that 72-hour truce would come into affect so that Palestinians could obtain humanitarian aid and tend to their wounded. But the U.S. and Israel both said all troops would remain in place and that Israeli soldiers would be able to continue to destroy tunnels. But Hamas spokesperson Osama Hamdan told CNN that was not the group’s understanding of the truce.

Alex Kane
About Alex Kane

Alex Kane is a freelance journalist who focuses on Israel/Palestine and civil liberties. Follow him on Twitter @alexbkane.

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55 Responses

  1. piotr
    piotr on August 1, 2014, 2:04 pm

    When taking a prisoner of war is an “abduction”?

    We will need to wait for more information as who violated the ceasefire and where was the tunnel. It is reasonable that Israel destroys the tunnels that go under the border, but Palestinians should be allowed to keep their shelters that in the distance from the border, a ceasefire allowing IDF to tramp all over Gaza is a hunting license, not a ceasefire.

    • Bandolero
      Bandolero on August 1, 2014, 2:36 pm


      Taken captive an opponent is called an “abduction” in an internal quarrel, eg between security forces of occupiers and occupied civilians. So one may take the word abduction as a confirmation that Israel regards Gaza as a territory occupied by Israel.

    • Atomsk
      Atomsk on August 1, 2014, 2:38 pm

      The IDF spokesperson himself admitted this morning on CNN that the IDF soldiers were operating in GAZA, not on the Israeli side of the border, and fired on Palestinians IN GAZA, which means it was Israel, not Hamas, who broke the cease fire.

      But this is how Israel works. These “cease fires” are fakes. They never actually cease firing. They unilaterally declare a cease fire, go into Palestine and shoot at civilians, and then when someone shows up to fight back and defend them, they immediately cry foul and blame the other side of violating the cease fire. False flags are the entire central sociopolitical tactic of the Zionist.

      • gamal
        gamal on August 1, 2014, 2:57 pm

        “They never actually cease firing”

        but thats no excuse, arab0-muslim-semi-jews have perfected hate, tell me is no one impressed by the cool hand lukism of Hamas, sometimes nothing is the strongest hand. Sky say an Israeli was kidnapped on the field, in Strine there is no word for captured, arrested?

        Viva Hamas, Viva Palestine, long live the resistance, sorry about the Shia genocide, no one is perfect, other than Eljay, Donald and of course the estimable Mr. Weiss.

      • Bandolero
        Bandolero on August 1, 2014, 3:25 pm

        Even more, the IDF claims the IDF soldiers were killed or arrested while “operating” (on a tunnel) in Gaza.

        So, the IDF claims that Hamas by hindering Israeli soldiers who were trying to destroy Palestianian property during the ceasefire. Israel also claims that operations for tunnel descruction were exempt from the ceasefire.

        So, when Israel says fighting for tunnels was exempt from the ceasefire how could Hamas violate the ceasefire by doing exactly that? Israel can’t have it both ways. Either fighting for tunnels is included in the ceasefire, or it is not.

      • amigo
        amigo on August 2, 2014, 7:21 am

        Bandalero , the worst part is Obama is spouting he same nonsense as if ban ki moon,s spokesman –“Feltman”.

        Israel is always right so the only way to solve this is through BDS.

        Full blown head on BDS thats hurts Israelis in their pocket and their sense of immunity from the actions they support.

        Every one should now be out in stores educating owners and convincing them to refuse to carry anything that comes from Israel.

        2 or 3 years of that will wake them from their slumber .

    • Jon66
      Jon66 on August 1, 2014, 4:16 pm

      When you don’t treat him like a POW and allow him Red Cross access.

      • Mooser
        Mooser on August 1, 2014, 6:10 pm

        “and allow him Red Cross access.”

        Jon666, ixnay on entioningmay the edray rosskay! Do you really want to bring up anything like that. Oh, I forgot, you think if you portray , ah, uh, Zionists (that’s it) as real machers, they will be rewarded with a country. That’s it Jon666, you guys are so damn tough, the world has to give you your own country, complete with the dispossessed people you stole it from. Or else you’ll take away our cherry tomatoes?

      • Pixel
        Pixel on August 1, 2014, 11:28 pm

        “ixnay on entioningmay the edray rosskay”


        Mooser, NEVER go away again!!

      • Shingo
        Shingo on August 1, 2014, 7:36 pm

        When you don’t treat him like a POW and allow him Red Cross access.

        Which is what ISrael does all the time.

      • Kay24
        Kay24 on August 1, 2014, 9:16 pm

        Especially those 700 kids in Israeli prisons. Forget Red Cross, their families have no access to see them, neither are the children allowed legal representation, Israel is just like any other rogue state.

      • Jon66
        Jon66 on August 1, 2014, 11:24 pm

        It is my understanding that all Palestinian prisoners in Israel receive regular Red Cross visits. I don’t want to spread misinformation, so please correct me if I am wrong.

      • ckg
        ckg on August 2, 2014, 8:32 am

        Jon–Do you want Hamas to treat him like Israel treats its prisoners? I hope not.

  2. Qualtrough
    Qualtrough on August 1, 2014, 2:06 pm

    From the Times of Israel (

    Goldin’s family is reportedly distantly related to Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon. The family, who are modern Orthodox, raised Goldin to love his people and his country, as he told Israel National News in an October 2013 interview upon finishing his officer’s training — which he completed along with twin brother, Tzur.

    Born and raised in the UK, but raised to love another people and another country. Dr. Phil might ask, “So, how did that work out for you?”

  3. jamienewman
    jamienewman on August 1, 2014, 2:22 pm

    I’ve read elsewhere that, under the terms to the ceasefire agreement, Israel would have been permitted to continue destroying tunnels in Gaza while the truce was in effect. Is it possible that Hamas would have agreed to this? Seems crazy to me . . . .

    • Bandolero
      Bandolero on August 1, 2014, 3:40 pm


      Put the wording a bit different and it makes sense: Israel insisted that fighting for the destruction of tunnels was exempted from the ceasefire, and Hamas agreed to such a limited ceasefire. While fighting for the destruction of tunnels therefore continued, Israel suffered losses and then blamed Hamas for the exemption of tunnel fighting from the ceasefire agreement.

      • ThorsteinVeblen2012
        ThorsteinVeblen2012 on August 1, 2014, 4:23 pm

        In the Holy Land:

        The big print giveth

        and the small print take-ith away

  4. Atomsk
    Atomsk on August 1, 2014, 2:40 pm

    According to the White House and our lapdog media, the abduction of ONE Israeli soldier is more “barbaric” than the mass murder of 1500 Palestinian civilians.

  5. Abierno
    Abierno on August 1, 2014, 2:42 pm

    Hamas is denying that they captured a soldier. Is this a revisit of the lies that surrounded the abduction of the 3 teen agers? but which “entitled” Netanyahu to tear apart the West Bank? Is this the lie that entitles/justifies the genocide of Gaza. Israel’s history would suggest that they have not adhered to any previous truce agreements with Gaza, including the ones negotiated in this war.

    • just
      just on August 1, 2014, 2:44 pm

      perhaps. but the US media is sucking on Netanyahu’s teat.

  6. just
    just on August 1, 2014, 2:42 pm

    I didn’t think it would get worse than Eid al- Fitr, but it has. Israel’s killing machine was never ready or willing for peace or a ceasefire.

    I want so much for Mr. Obama to stray from the script and condemn the actions of the Pariah, Apartheid, Genocidal state………

    So far all that I have seen is a macabre dance in honor of and by the pundits, the murderous Congress, and in honor of Israel’s ‘right to security’. A dance for the deaths/genocide of the Palestinians.

    • Atomsk
      Atomsk on August 1, 2014, 2:57 pm

      Obama is Netanyahu’s lapdog House Goy

    • Kay24
      Kay24 on August 1, 2014, 5:37 pm

      There is a wall around Israel put up by our shameless leaders, congress and the media. They dare not go over it, and we seem to look like Israel’s defender and protect around the world. We veto any UN condemnations, we keep sending billions and fund their devious games around the world, and we arm them so that they can slaughter civilians in their neighborhood. We also cover their lies, and keep parroting those lies to the rest of the world. What does it make us?

  7. Bandolero
    Bandolero on August 1, 2014, 2:45 pm

    The “Israel” Ministry of Foreign Affairs asks me to share the following so I do it here:

    Please share:
    It took Hamas 2 hours and 4 minutes to violate the cease fire which was accepted by both sides and started this morning.
    Since the beginning of operation Protective Edge almost 3000 rockets were fired by Hamas at Israel and 8 cease fires were violated or rejected by Hamas.
    List of violations:


    To me it reads like an official Israeli confirmation that Hamas did abide by the ceasefire starting at 8:00h local time for 2 hours and 4 monutes.

    Palestinian doctor Belal however reported at 8:03h local time that he still hears artillery.


    ITN Channel 4 News journalist Stuart Webb reported: “Despite the ‘ceasefire’ #Gaza radio say 6 people killed in Rafah by shell fire and Israeli snipers still active.”


    To me it seems to look pretty much like Israel didn’t respect by the ceasefire at all.

    • Kay24
      Kay24 on August 1, 2014, 5:39 pm

      Some residents have reported that their homes have been taken over by Israeli snipers (the nakba anniversary type, I suppose) to continue the massacre.

  8. just
    just on August 1, 2014, 2:56 pm

    Obama– BIG fail during his presser!

    I am so sick of this. For SHAME Mr. Obama and the United States of America.

    Our legendary hypocrisy on full display wrt Russia and Israel.

    • Justpassingby
      Justpassingby on August 1, 2014, 3:20 pm

      ..and soon he will talk live about the conflict, prepare for defending israeli warcrimes.

    • can of worms
      can of worms on August 1, 2014, 3:25 pm

      Kerry in one breath speaks of an ‘apparent’ ‘abduction’ [sic.], and in the very same breath he treats this as a known fact meriting the ‘strongest condemnation’, so which is it?
      Let us not condemn the killing of two illegally occupying soldiers. Let us rather condemn a corroded superpower, run by gang members. Let us condemn a superpower that has sold its own sovereignty. Let us condemn a corrupt democracy, whose ‘closest allies’ are genocidal, ethnic cleansing and apartheid states.

      • Taxi
        Taxi on August 1, 2014, 4:52 pm

        Somebody should tell Obama that baby-killing soldiers should indeed be “captured”… by the fathers and brothers of the killed babies, if need be.

        The upsidedownism here:
        israel doesn’t want a big Gaza war and its baggage, it just wants a wee genocide.

    • piotr
      piotr on August 1, 2014, 10:53 pm

      I always wonder if hypocrisy is a resource that can be depleted, like North-East Atlantic cod fishery. And it is not like our hypocrisy is used on two fronts alone.

      • can of worms
        can of worms on August 2, 2014, 2:05 am

        Well piotr one thing’s for sure, Aipac resources can never, ever be depleted!

        To feed the voracious monster of the “Jewish State” you really do need undepletable resources. You need economic “terror tunnels” wherein the resources of the 1% can expand (mainly by stock manipulations), to provide the political, diplomatic, military and hasbara support for an otherwise extremely brittle system.

        The way the resources can be depleted is by the collapse of the “tunnels”: the petrodollar system.

      • piotr
        piotr on August 2, 2014, 9:47 am

        Here we have the same trick used twice. First an abduction that was not abduction was used to cover mass arrests etc. Next, an abduction that is an abduction if you believe every word of Israeli government, which is not disclosing any details, just “executive summary”. And “search for the poor dear duckling” justifies continuation of the mayhem, and most importantly, repetition of what they did before: keeping Gaza “on diet” and homeless.

        How many times USA and “international community” can go for such tricks?

  9. Justpassingby
    Justpassingby on August 1, 2014, 3:16 pm
  10. Taxi
    Taxi on August 1, 2014, 3:25 pm

    It is interesting to note that when a Palestinian Resistance commando unit uses tunnels to access a bordering illegal settlement where the idf have taken up attack positions, these Palestinian Resistance fighters go DIRECTLY after the israeli soldiers in a face-to-face armed combat, and not into the homes of the illegal settlers to slaughter them while they sleep.

    Them “terrrist” Palestinians sure look like they’re hitting their military targets and avoiding the mass killing of israeli citizens.

  11. gamal
    gamal on August 1, 2014, 3:25 pm

    “George Galloway on Twitter:

    ‘There is no people in the world today more rightly reviled than the Israeli Zionists. Their standing in the world has reached rock bottom.’

    Media Lens: ‘@georgegalloway Reviling people is the problem, George, not the solution.’

    This got me thinking…

    Exactly as Gandhi argued, it is the lack of Israeli civilian casualties that has brought us to this point. Robert Fisk:

    ‘But the world is turning against Israel, as EU ministers repeatedly (though ever so gently) tell the Israelis. And it’s turning against our politicians and media masters who go on insulting them.’

    If Hamas had succeeded in killing many civilians, global public opinion would not be moving the way it is. I don’t agree with Gandhi on much, but I think he did understood the extraordinary power of non-violence for the powerless in the face of overwhelming power. It’s an extremely tough message to accept:

    ‘In true sacrifice all the suffering is on one side – one is required to master the art of getting killed without killing, of gaining life by losing it.’

    We may not be willing to choose this, but ‘getting killed without killing’ in Gaza does seem to be having the kind of impacts Gandhi predicted. More evidence for the hidden power of non-violence?


    well this is David Edwards of Medialens, I think it is revolting stupid and utterly reprehensible. It is however mighty white of him.

  12. just
    just on August 1, 2014, 3:32 pm

    “”In our millions, in our billions – We are all Palestinians!” #Gaza protest closes roads at #Israel’s London embassy″

    • Kay24
      Kay24 on August 1, 2014, 5:41 pm

      So nice to see. They are really dedicated and consistent in what they are doing.
      Good luck to them all.

  13. amigo
    amigo on August 1, 2014, 3:58 pm

    The main Irish tv network is saying that the UN is also blaming Hamas and using the capture of an Israeli invader as their justification.

    I have not yet heard any militant group claiming responsibility.

    He might be dead and as the IDF did the clean up (I presume) , maybe they have the body and are claiming he is “Kidnapped” so they can claim Hamas broke the ceasefire.

    We all know this would not be the first time they lied to parents and cynically use false information to aid their propaganda machine.

  14. samlebon2306
    samlebon2306 on August 1, 2014, 4:02 pm
  15. John O
    John O on August 1, 2014, 4:07 pm

    Netanyahu’s insistence that the IDF would continue to destroy tunnels during any ceasefire was sheer stupidity (he’s cunning rather than smart). It was bound sooner or later to result in a fight and break the ceasefire, irrespective of who fired the first shot. And the law of unintended consequences has also bitten him on the arse, with two more soldiers killed and a third missing, presumed captured.

    • Kay24
      Kay24 on August 1, 2014, 5:54 pm

      This entire fiasco, the war based on lies (like Bush/Cheney) and excessive violence, the excuses to collectively punish the people they hate, and the ongoing slaughter, have made Netanyahu look like a dangerous mad man around the world, everyone knows he lies, his spokespeople lie, and the lies are even disproved by the media.
      He has to prove to his blood thirsty knesset members that he is man enough to wage this war, he has been taken aback by the resistance of Hamas, and he has even had to call up more reinforcements and ask their arms supplier (that would be us) more ammo to keep the massacre going.
      Right now the world sees Israelis as the human animals.

      Netanyahu must be embarrassed (if he is able to have human feelings) that his war has resulted in the loss of many of their soldiers. A loss they have experienced after years. If the number of casualties among the civilians in Gaza is a sign of victory for Israel, then they have won brilliantly. They fare fabulously when it comes to killing women and babies, as we can see. Real toughies.

    • Shingo
      Shingo on August 1, 2014, 7:38 pm

      That’s how Israel always chose to interpret ceasefires. Hamas has to stop shooting, Israel will probably stop shooting except for special circumstances, which means whatever Israel decide.

    • Atomsk
      Atomsk on August 2, 2014, 5:14 am

      No, dont you understand? Netanyahu WANTS the ceasefires to be broken, because then that gives him “permission” to murder even more innocent civilians.

  16. Boomer
    Boomer on August 1, 2014, 6:03 pm

    Thanks Alex, your report (as well as the subsequent discussion) was helpful in sorting out the confusing (spin-filled) reports on the events of the day.

  17. amigo
    amigo on August 1, 2014, 6:31 pm

    it,s all part of the Israeli “Pinpoint ” operation.

    Are you still watching Kerry or did they get to you again.

  18. Sulphurdunn
    Sulphurdunn on August 1, 2014, 6:33 pm

    If the IDF was engaged in offensive ground operations (looking for Hamas tunnels) during the cease fire, then they broke the cease fire.

  19. talknic
    talknic on August 1, 2014, 9:45 pm

    A cease fire with Hamas is not a cease fire with the unity Govt representing the people of Palestine who have a right to continue to resist occupation

    Even if there is a cease fire, armistice agreement or peace treaty between Israel and a unity Govt representing all the people of Palestine, it only applies to the areas specified in that agreement, i.e., buffer zones and the like. They still have a right to attack and/or capture or expel armed foreigners in their rightful territory, ALL of their rightful territory!

  20. Bandolero
    Bandolero on August 1, 2014, 11:08 pm

    There is an important update to this story.

    Al Jazeera reports: Hamas denies taking missing Israeli soldier

    Qassam brigades carried out an investigation and released a press statement saying they have no idea on what happened to the soldier Israel is missing. The have no contact with the Qassam brigade fighters in question engaged in stopping Israeli advances in the area at at that time and think they are all killed, and the missing Israeli soldiers was likely killed, too.

    Here is the full Qassam brigades statement:

    It looks more and more like Israel declared a killed Israeli captured to justify more Israeli violence, much the same way as Israel did it after the three Israelis were killed at the beginng of this in the westbank.

    • just
      just on August 1, 2014, 11:17 pm

      “It looks more and more like Israel declared a killed Israeli captured to justify more Israeli violence, much the same way as Israel did it after the three Israelis were killed at the beginng of this in the westbank.”

      Yes it does.

  21. Peter Garcia-Webb
    Peter Garcia-Webb on August 2, 2014, 12:16 am

    The New York Times had an article on the breaking of the ceasefire on 1 Aug. That article has been changed and the original has gone. If you search for the original you can find it, but clicking on it takes you to the new article.
    Not surprisingly the new article shifts the blame on to Hamas
    Details at

  22. amigo
    amigo on August 2, 2014, 7:40 am

    More good news from Ireland.

    A small has village become the first Irish one to officially Boycott Israeli goods.

    Scroll to the bottom to find this article and leave a message for the people of “Kinvara”.

    Hopefully others will follow their actions.

  23. Kay24
    Kay24 on August 2, 2014, 7:56 am

    CNN reports that now MORE children have been killed than militants.

    So much for considerate bombing by Israel. The facts show the hypocrisy and lies.

    I hope one day Israel will have their “kindness” returned to them, they truly deserve their just desserts.

  24. Xpat
    Xpat on August 2, 2014, 9:41 am

    Haaretz is reporting that Israel will declare victory in a “one sided solution.” They are recycling the chestnut of “there is no one to talk to on the other side.” The UN/US endorsement of the Israeli claim that Hamas violated the 72 hour ceasefire has given the Israelis the ladder they were desperately seeking to climb down from the Israeli tree.
    As long as they stop the massacre, it’s a good thing.
    In the next episode: Goldstone redux.

  25. just
    just on August 2, 2014, 9:42 am

    “9:50 A.M. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has expressed frustration with U.S. efforts to forge a truce in Gaza in the aftermath of the humanitarian cease-fire’s collapse, the Associated Press reports.

    Netanyahu said in a phone conversation with U.S. Ambassador to Israel Dan Shapiro that the Obama administration was “not to ever second-guess me again” and that Washington should trust his judgment on how to deal with Hamas, according to people familiar with the conversation.

    Netanyahu added that he now “expected” the U.S. and other countries to fully support Israel’s offensive in Gaza, according to those familiar with the call. They spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the matter by name. (AP and Barak Ravid) ”

    These are the words of a madman– a madman armed with nukes and all forms of WMD and the willingness to use them. He’s committing genocide, and DEMANDS the world’s support for it. It’s past time for the US to cut off all support for him and his murderous agenda.

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