The Qassam Brigades, Hamas' armed wing, released a statement early this morning saying the Islamist Palestinian faction is not holding an Israeli officer who Israel claims was abducted in an ambush after a short-lived ceasefire had begun.
"Until now, we have no idea about the disappearance of the Israeli soldier," the statement, reported on by The New York Times, read. "We do not know his whereabouts or the conditions of his disappearance." Saying it had lost contact with its troops in the ambush, Hamas also suggested that the abducted soldier could have been killed by a subsequent Israeli assault: "Our account is that the soldier could have been kidnapped and killed together with our fighters."
Hamas and Israeli officials differ on the timing of a Friday clash that collapsed a 72-hour ceasefire brokered by the United Nations and Secretary of State John Kerry. A spokesman for the Israeli military, though, refuted the statement released by the Qassam Brigades, saying that the search for Second Lt. Hadar Goldin is ongoing and that Hamas is responsible for the abduction.