The Israeli army, on Friday, announced that a soldier the Qassam Brigades claimed to have captured is dead.Bethlehem: Ma’an update 25/07/2014; 22:00

The Israeli army on Friday announced that a soldier Hamas claims to have captured was dead, but they did not know the whereabouts of his body.

The army spokesperson said that Staff Sergeant Oron Shaul was “killed in action” after a committee led by the army’s Chief Rabbi investigated his death, which occurred in battle in Gaza on Sunday.

The committee defined Shaul as “a soldier killed in action whose burial site is unknown.

The statement comes only days after Hamas said they had captured the soldier during a battle, suggesting they captured his body after he was killed.

In a report by Ma’an on Friday, The al-Qassam Brigades military wing of Hamas said it had captured, an Israeli soldier in Shejaiya, the first since that of Gilad Shalit in 2011. During a speech by spokesman Abu Ubaida, which aired on Ma’an News, the name of the captured soldier was Shaul Aron and his military number is 6092065.

An Israeli military spokesperson could not confirm news of the capture. News of the capture sparked celebration across Palestinian cities with gunshots and fireworks heard in Gaza City, Bethlehem and elsewhere throughout the occupied territories.

Israel prizes its soldiers and citizens highly and sets top priority on the return of both the captured and killed. Palestinians regard this as “bargaining” chip for release of prisoners. The Hamas military has called for soldiers to be captured with this aim.

In the past, Israel has agreed to release Palestinian prisoners kept in Israeli jails in exchange for kidnapped Israeli soldiers; and exchanged the bodies of the dead in for Palestinian and Lebanese prisoners held in Israeli jails, as well as the bodies of militants held by Israel.

Currently, more than 6,000 Palestinian prisoners are being held in Israeli prisons.