By William Booth, Sudarsan Raghavan and Ruth Eglash July 20 at 4:38 PM
GAZA CITY — Seventy Palestinians were killed Sunday in a heavy bombardment of a Gaza neighborhood and 13 Israeli soldiers were slain in the most intense day of fighting in Israel’s current offensive against Hamas fighters, officials said. The Hamas military also announced that its fighters had captured an Israeli soldier.
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.
A captured Israeli soldier would represent a victory for Hamas and a difficult new challenge for Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
The last Israeli soldier taken prisoner by Hamas was Gilad Shalit, who spent more than five years in captivity before being released in a controversial exchange in 2011 that freed 1,027 Palestinian security prisoners, some of whom carried out terror attacks against Israeli civilians. Shalit was captured by Hamas operatives who tunneled into Israel and snatched the corporal.
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