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Israel Says Missing Soldier Is Dead

Palestinians carry their belongings next to the rubble of destroyed houses in Gaza City on August 1.

Israel says a soldier who has been reported missing in the Gaza Strip is dead.

The Israeli military announced on August 3 that Hadar Goldin was determined to have been killed in battle.

There was no word on the whereabouts of his remains.

Goldin was believed to have been captured by fighters of the Hamas militant group on August 1 in an ambush that shattered a 72-hour cease-fire.

The announcement comes after Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Israeli forces would continue their military campaign in Gaza for as long as necessary.

In a televised speech on August 2, Netanyahu said: "From the beginning, we promised to return the quiet to Israel's citizens and we will continue to act until that aim is achieved."

He also vowed Hamas would pay an "intolerable" price for any more attacks on Israel from Gaza.

In an apparent response to Netanyahu, Hamas spokesman Fawzi Barhoum said the Islamist movement would "continue our resistance until we achieve our goals."

Meanwhile, Israeli media reported that more than 30 tunnels under the Gaza-Israeli border had been destroyed and the mission was close to being complete.

There were also reports that some Israeli tanks were pulling back to the border.

In another sign of troop redeployment in Gaza, the Israeli military told residents of the northern Gaza town of Beit Lahiya it would be safe for them to return to their homes.

Earlier on August 2, Israel bombarded the Rafah area, with medics saying it killed more than 100 people in 24 hours.

Israeli planes also launched strikes against the Islamic University in Gaza, causing serious damage to the building. The Israeli army said there was a "weapons development center" inside the university.

Meanwhile, a Palestinian delegation reportedly landed in Cairo for talks on an Egyptian cease-fire initiative, although Israel said it was not sending a negotiating team.

More than 1,700 Palestinians, mostly civilians, have been killed since Israel began its offensive in Gaza three weeks ago.

On the Israeli side, the fighting claimed the lives of 67 people, most of them soldiers.

With reporting by Reuters, AP, and AFP
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