Hamas announced in the evening of July 20 the kidnapping of Israeli soldier Shaul Aron during a clash that took place at dawn the same day. The clash occurred with Israeli forces in the al-Tuffah neighborhood in eastern Gaza on the second day of the ground operation. A spokesman for the Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades, Abu Obaida, gave the service number of the kidnapped soldier, 6092065, and that he was from the elite Israeli Golani Brigade. Israel initially denied that Hamas kidnapped the soldier, and later claimed that the soldier had been killed.

A Hamas media official refused to comment on Israel’s claim that the soldier had died during an interview with Al-Monitor, saying, “This is the responsibility of al-Qassam Brigades and no one else’s. Israel’s promotion of this news is for the purpose of making Hamas confirm or deny its accuracy. This is how Israel is trying to gain free information without having to liberate Palestinian detainees in return for information regarding the fate of the soldier who was seized by al-Qassam.”

The official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said,“It is difficult to link the kidnapping of the soldier to the terms of the current truce; otherwise, the confrontation would last longer. Thus, the parties will agree on postponing the subject of the captured soldier until after this crazy war has ended.” […]