08/02/2014, 00.00
ISRAEL - PALESTINE
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Gaza war: more than 1,600 dead. The missing Israeli soldier maybe died along with Palestinian militants

Shelling continued throughout the night on the Gaza Strip. Tunnels almost completely destroyed. Abbas goes to Cairo with representatives of Hamas and Islamic Jihad in an attempt of dialogue. U.S. gives 225 million dollars for Iron Dome.

Jerusalem (AsiaNews / Agencies) - At least another 107 Palestinians were killed in the Gaza Strip after the failure of the cease-fire yesterday, which Israel and Hamas had both agreed to. The two sides accuse each other of violating the truce. Meanwhile, an Israeli soldier is missing and the army thinks that he has been captured.

The attacks continued through the night, leaving at least 35 Palestinians killed in the Rafah area alone. According to the Palestinian health authorities, the death toll has surpassed 1,600 dead, mostly civilians.

From the Israeli side, 63 soldiers and three civilians, including a Thai migrant, have been killed.

The countless raids have hit about 55 targets. They include five mosques, which according to the army, were used as storage for missiles and as centers of terrorism, the Islamic University and an area used for "military activities."

An Defence official said this morning that the mission to destroy the tunnels that penetrate from Gaza into Israeli territory is "close to completion".

The missing Israeli soldier is 23 year old Hadar Goldin. According to Israel, the soldier, who was operating in the Rafah area "was kidnapped by terrorists," when they broke the cease-fire.

The news of the disappearance immediately brought to mind the kidnapping of Gilad Shalit in 2006, another young soldier held captive for five years and then released in exchange for the release of 1,000 Palestinian prisoners.

Justice Minister Tzipi Livni has accused Hamas of being behind the kidnapping and said the group will pay a high price for this.

But today a statement from the Ezzedine al-Qassam Brigades, the armed wing of Hamas, said it had no news on the missing soldier. "We have lost contact with one of our militant groups - it said - that was fighting in the area where soldier disappeared, and it is possible that our activists and this soldier have been killed".

The alleged capture of the Israeli soldier makes any truce or cease-fire much more unlikely.

From the diplomatic point of view, Egypt continues to offer itself as a meeting place Israeli-Palestinian dialogue on a truce. Mahmoud Abbas, President of the Palestinian Authority, together with representatives of Hamas and Islamic Jihad will go to Cairo today, even if there is no cease-fire.

Saudi King Abdullah has denounced the silence of the world towards the "Israeli war crimes" in Gaza as "inexcusable".

Yesterday, U.S. Congress approved an aid package of 225 million dollars to support the Iron Dome missile defense system, which allows Israel to intercept rockets launched by Hamas from the Gaza Strip.

 

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