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Gaza cease-fire unravels

(CNN) -- The latest attempt at an Israel-Hamas cease-fire disintegrated Friday. After the capture of an Israeli soldier, the conflict edged closer to escalation than to peace.

The soldier was "abducted" by Palestinian militants during an attack in Gaza in which two other Israeli soldiers died, Israeli military Lt. Col. Peter Lerner told CNN's Wolf Blitzer. The soldiers were decommissioning a tunnel at the time, Lerner said.

The Israel Defense Forces earlier identified soldier as 2nd Lt. Hadar Goldin. A search operation is under way to find him, Lerner confirmed.

"We need to bring him home," Lerner said later in the interview.

Hopes for an announced 72-hour humanitarian cease-fire between Israel and Hamas didn't even last two hours, by some accounts. As has been a hallmark of the conflict, each side blamed the other for resuming the fighting.

The pause appears to have eroded after about 1 hours in Rafah, a city in southern Gaza, with the deadly attack in which Goldin, 23, was taken. Lerner told reporters that while the soldiers were decommissioning a tunnel, a militant emerged from the tunnel and detonated a suicide bomb.

Around that time, Palestinian sources told CNN they could hear shelling in the area. The Gaza Health Ministry said an Israeli attack on Rafah killed at least 40 people and wounded 250.

Hamas spokesman Osama Hamdan blamed Israel's actions for violating the cease-fire, saying the Palestinian militants have the right to protect themselves.

The IDF told a different version, saying its troops in Rafah were attacked in a "brutal incident" that required them to defend themselves. At the same time, rockets were fired from Gaza into southern Israel, Mark Regev, spokesman for Israel's Prime Minister, told CNN.

Israeli officials told CNN the cease-fire is over as far as Israel is concerned.


Read more: CNN

 
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