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Hamas's al-Qassam Brigades says it captured Israeli soldiers in Gaza

May 26, 2024 at 10:19 am

Israeli army with large number of tanks, armored personnel carriers, military bulldozers and helicopters continue to attack from air and ground ahead of Ramadan in Khan Yunis, Gaza on March 7, 2024. [Mostafa Alkharouf – Anadolu Agency]

Al-Qassam Brigades, the military wing of Hamas, announced Sunday that it captured Israeli soldiers during an operation in the Gaza Strip, Anadolu Agency reports.

But Israeli army spokesman Avichay Adraee denied the claim on X, saying that there was “no incident of soldier capturing.”

Abu Obaida, al-Qassam Brigades spokesperson, said in a recorded message that fighters “carried out a complex operation on Saturday afternoon, in the northern Gaza Strip, where they lured a Zionist force into one of the tunnels in Jabalia refugee camp.”

Al-Qassam fighters “ambushed this force inside the tunnel and at its entrance, and engaged with its members at point-blank range.”

“When an Israeli reinforcement force arrived, it was also attacked with explosive devices,” he said.

He confirmed that the group “caused all members of the force to fall between dead, wounded, and captive, and seized their military equipment,” without specifying the number of captives.

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The group released footage showing the withdrawal of one of the bodies of Israeli army casualties, who were detained in the operation, in addition to a helmet, military clothing and weapons.

It is the first operation by resistance factions that they have announced the capture of Israeli soldiers since Israel began a ground incursion into Gaza on Oct. 27.

Israel has killed nearly 36,000 Palestinians since a cross-border attack by Hamas that claimed less than 1,200 lives and 250 others that were taken hostage.

Some of the captives were released in exchange for a brief truce and the release of Palestinian prisoners in November.

More than seven months into the conflict, vast swathes of Gaza lay in ruins amid a crippling blockade of food, clean water and medicine.

Israel is accused of genocide at the International Court of Justice, which has mandated Tel Aviv to prevent its forces from committing such acts, and ensure humanitarian aid reaches civilians in Gaza.

In its latest ruling on Friday, the UN court ordered Israel to halt its offensive in the southern city of Rafah, which it started on May 6.

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