Hamas Claims it Captured Israeli Soldier

A spokesman for Hamas’s military wing claimed the group has captured an Israeli soldier, according to several reports.

The Washington Post reported that the alleged capture was announced on television in Gaza.

From the Post:

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Abu Obaida, a spokesman for the Al Qassam Brigades, appeared on Hamas TV to announce the soldier had been taken prisoner. Minutes later, there were fireworks and shouts of “God is great!” from loud speakers.

An Israeli military spokeswoman said the army was investigating the claim.

No evidence of the capture was offered by Obaida, according to Reuters. The Israeli military told several outlets it was checking the claim.

Al Jazeera America noted that in a previous captured soldier case, hamas was able to get the Israeli government to release 1,000 Palestinian prisoners for Sgt. Gilad Shalit:

Hamas is well aware of the effect holding Israelis captive has on the national psyche of their adversary — after holding Sgt. Gilad Shalit for more than five years, the movement forced Israel to release more than 1,000 Palestinian prisoners in exchange for his release. (A number of those released were rounded up by Israel in the crackdown that followed the abduction of three teenage Israelis in the West Bank, who were later found dead.)

Haaretz, meanwhile, said Israeli Defense Force sources called the claim “dubious” and said “the chances that Hamas was holding an IDF soldier were slim.”