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Israel Denies Capture Of Soldier in Gaza

Diplomat dismisses claims that a soldier was captured during overnight fighting, as Palestinian death toll passes 500.  Israel has denied that one of its soldiers had been captured by Hamas in overnight fighting, as the death toll in the Gaza Strip passed 500, the Gaza health ministry said.

Al-Qassam brigades, Hamas' armed wing, said Israeli soldier Shaul Aron was captured late on Sunday, but Ron Prosor, Israel's ambassador to the UN dismissed the claim, saying that "those rumours were untrue".

Osama Hamdan, a Hamas leader and spokesman, told Al Jazeera that the Israeli soldier had been captured: "Al-Qassam declared all the information about the military operations. When we said we captured the soldier, it's true and everyone has to deal with that as true."

The Qassam brigades did not say whether the captured soldier was dead or alive.

Aron would be the first Israeli soldier held captive in Gaza since 2011, when Israel released more than 1,000 Palestinian prisoners to free Gilad Shalit, a soldier who was held for more than five years after his 2006 capture in a cross-border raid.

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