Israeli soldier's death proven by DNA

Jerusalem - The Israeli army on Sunday confirmed the death of missing soldier Lieutenant Hadar Goldin by checking the DNA of parts of his body that were found in a tunnel.

Goldin went missing in action on Friday following a deadly incident in southern Gaza on Friday morning in which two other soldiers were killed, with Israel saying it suspected he had been snatched by Palestinian militants.

The incident sparked a major bombardment of the southern city of Rafah and the surrounding area as troops sought to track him down in a display of firepower which killed 114 people in just 24 hours.

But early on Sunday, the army announced that Goldin had been killed in action, with army spokesperson Lieutenant Colonel Peter Lerner telling AFP he had been identified by his DNA.

"What we know for sure was that one suicide bomber and at least three or four other gunmen came out of a tunnel.

"One blew himself up, killing two on the spot, and the others were shooting - they grabbed Hadar and snatched him down into the tunnel," he said.

"We don't know if he was alive and wounded, or dead at this time. Only in the aftermath, with the forensic investigation, were we able to conclude that he was killed," he said.

Remains of Goldin's body were discovered inside the tunnel east of Rafah where the confrontation took place, Lerner said.

"He was identified by his DNA," he told AFP, saying what they found proved he was dead, not being held by a militant group.

"There was enough to determine that he had been killed and to carry out a burial."

'DNA test took time'

Shortly after the incident took place on 1 August, the army issued a statement saying initial indications suggested he had been "abducted by terrorists" in a development which drew sharp condemnation from the US and the UN, which demanded his immediate release.

In response, Hamas's armed wing, the Ezzedine al-Qassam Brigades, acknowledged its militants had staged an ambush in the area early Friday in which Israeli soldiers were killed.

But they denied holding Goldin.

"We have lost contact with the mujahedeen unit that was in that ambush, and we think that all the fighters in this unit were killed by Zionist shelling along with the soldier, who the enemy says is missing," it said.

"Until now, we at al-Qassam have no knowledge of the missing soldier, or his whereabouts or the circumstances of his disappearance."

The movement later accused Israel of fabricating the abduction claim in order to sabotage a 72-hour truce bid, which had just got under way when the incident happened, and to lay waste to Rafah.

Asked why it had taken so long to declare the soldier dead and not captured, Lerner said: "The DNA test took time."

Israel considers the capture of its soldiers to be a casus belli (Latin expression meaning an act or event that provokes or is used to justify war). It launched a 34-day war on Lebanon's Hezbollah in 2006 after it seized two soldiers.

Goldin's death brings the death toll among Israeli soldiers to 64 since the start of hostilities on 8 July, the heaviest since the 2006 war against Hezbollah.

More than 1 800 Palestinians have been killed, with UN figures indicating most were civilians.

Goldin was buried on Sunday afternoon after a funeral in his home town of Kfar Saba near Tel Aviv.

Read more on: palestine israel gaza
Jessica Pringle 2014-08-03 10:17:20 PM
Israel's using soldiers as human shields :) 114 people had to die for this bloke, must have been one hell of a shield!
John Lebitso 2014-08-04 06:40:13 AM
Let him die just like palestines who lost their lives
Lionel Aryeh Gordon 2014-08-04 10:37:19 AM
Nice to see all these comments about nefarious Isreali actions! How come no one ever attacks Hamas? Can it be that ONLY Israel is always to blame? As they say: It takes 2 to tango. Yes, Israel has made mistakes in battle that have led to many civilian deaths, but: a)This is war and in war people die; b)Hamas never warns Israelis that they are going to fire rockets or blow up busses or come out through tunnels to kill civilians or kidnap people. Israel has dropped leaflets telling people to evacuate to save their lives. If Hamas Hides behind civilians, the chances are great that many civilians will die. Hamas wants that or they would attack from other areas. This is a war of survival for Israelis. Hamas wants to destroy Israel, not make peace with it
Olivia du Plessis 2014-08-04 11:35:51 AM
People wake up read international news not local news. Hamas fired missiles but that's ok, firing at civilians and Israel defends themselves that's fine. I am so sick of the stupid comments. This is not just about 3 teenagers HAMAS FIRED FIRST - but heck if they fired at your house or town you'd say poor sods. No wonder SA is in such a mess. A godless country giving advice to the chosen country of YHWH.
James Uknow 2014-08-04 01:47:39 PM
Israel can capture Palestinian fighters ,but not the other way around ,then the world condemns it ,seems Palestinians must stick to throwing stones