|Israeli soldiers carry the coffin of Major Amotz Greenberg, a 45-year-old reserve soldier killed fighting a group of Palestinian militants who infiltrated Israel through a tunnel from the center of the Gaza Strip, during his funeral in Hod Hasharon, near Tel Aviv, Israel, on July 20, 2014. Thirteen Israeli soldiers were killed overnight and early Sunday in clashes with Palestinian militants throughout the Gaza Strip, amid the Israeli army's ground incursion to the enclave, the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) confirmed in a statement. (Xinhua/JINI)
JERUSALEM/GAZA, July 21 (Xinhua) -- The Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) on Sunday evening refused to comment on Hamas' claim of having kidnapped an Israeli soldier, but a military source told Xinhua that the "kidnapped" was among the 13 Israeli soldier who died in earlier clashes with militants.
A Hamas spokesperson said on Sunday that they had "captured a Zionist soldier," releasing a photograph with his name and military ID number. The IDF later said they are looking into the report and cannot confirm nor deny it so far.
Meantime, a military source told Xinhua on Sunday that the " kidnapped" soldier is on the list of 13 Israeli troops who had already been pronounced dead earlier by the authorities, but their names have been not made public yet.
Another military official told the Ha'aretz daily that the claim is "dubious," and that the chances that Hamas may have kidnapped a soldier are "slim." Other military correspondents speculated that Hamas must have grabbed the ID of one of the victims after the clashes in central Gaza Strip earlier on Sunday.
The IDF has already released the names of five Israeli soldiers as of late Sunday. The military has notified their families before clearing their names for publication.
Earlier on Sunday Hamas' armed wing Qassam Brigades announced that they had kidnapped an Israeli soldier and hold him captive in Gaza. They identified the soldier as Shaul Aron and his military number as 6092065, saying that they succeeded in kidnapping him during an ambush in Attufah neighborhood in Gaza city.
In June 2006 Qassam Brigades kidnapped Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit in a cross-border operation and held him captive for six years. The soldier was later released in exchange for 1,000 Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails.
Israel's military operation in Gaza has resulted in the deaths of about 450 Palestinians and the injury of more than 3040 others. One Israeli citizen and 13 soldiers have also been killed, while 65 others injured.