The family of an IDF soldier believed to have been captured by Hamas in the Gaza Strip held a press conference on Saturday evening, demanding the IDF not withdraw from Gaza without him.
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"I'm a battalion commander, I've been in the reserves until I was 50, and can't imagine the IDF to forsake its fighter," 2nd. Lt. Hadar Goldin's father, Dr. Simcha Goldin, told reporters amid reports of a partial IDF withdrawal to the Gaza border.
"My commander in Northern Command was Benny Gantz (the chief of staff), and I know he will not order the IDF to leave anywhere, when there's a soldier inside," Goldin's father added.
Goldin's mother said: "I demand the state of Israel not to leave Gaza until it brings my boy back home. Hadar is Zur's twin, Zur's second half. They both serve in the same place. I demand the state of Israel not to forsake my child, and not to forsake any child who went out to defend Israel."
Goldin's twin brother Zur said: "Hadar has nothing to worry about – we'll do everything for him. And to Hadar I say – I'll do everything for you."
The Israel Defense Forces confirmed Friday afternoon that Goldin was believed captured by Hamas militants. According to the IDF Spokesperson’s Unit, "a group of Hamas terrorists, including a suicide attacker, kidnapped 2nd Lt. (Hadar) Goldin at 9:30 A.M. and dragged him into a tunnel." The incident, in which the 23-year-old from Kfar Saba went missing, occurred in Rafah, in the southern Gaza Strip, shortly after a 72-hour humanitarian cease-fire – agreed upon by both Israel and Hamas – went into effect at 8:00 A.M.
However, on Saturday morning Hamas’ military wing issued a statement saying that it believes the missing Israeli officer was killed in an Israeli bombardment.
"We lost contact with the group of combatants that took part in the ambush,” the Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades’ statement said, “and we believe they were all killed in the bombardment. Assuming that they managed to abduct the soldier during combat, we assess that he was also killed in the incident."