World / Middle East

Israel military says 72-hour truce over, one soldier feared captured

(Xinhua) Updated: 2014-08-01 20:36

JERUSALEM - The Israeli military said on Friday a US/UN backed Gaza ceasefire that went into effect earlier on Friday is over while military operations continued on the ground.

At a media conference call, Lieutenant-Colonel Peter Lerner, a military spokesman, confirmed that the termination of the 72-hour humanitarian ceasefire, saying: "We are continuing our activities on the ground."

The three-day conflict break in Gaza went into effect only Friday morning but was breached almost immediately, with Israeli shelling killing at least 27 Palestinians and Gaza rockets fired at Israel, Israeli officials said.

A short while ago, Israeli media reported that Israel's Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories (COGAT) has informed the UN that the ceasefire is over due to rocket firing. However, a spokesperson with the COGAT office has declined to comment.

A spokesperson for the Israeli military said that eight rockets and mortar shells were fired at Israel after the truce went into effect. "One was intercepted and seven hit open areas," the spokesperson said. No wounded or damages were reported.

Israeli troops have reportedly fired artillery at Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip, killing at least 27 Palestinians, the Palestinian Health Ministry in Gaza said.

Also on Friday, Israel said in a statement that one of its soldiers may have been kidnapped early in the day by Gaza militants during clashes in the southern Gaza Strip.

According to a Israeli military spokesperson, at around 9:30 am (06:30 GMT) Gaza militants opened fire at Israeli troops in the southern Gaza Strip.

"Preliminary information indicates that a soldier may have been kidnapped," the spokesperson said.

The military was deploying large air and ground forces, including intelligence efforts, in order to locate the missing soldier.

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