Abducted IDF Soldier Likely 'Snatched into a Tunnel'

IDF reinforcements discover terror tunnel leading to Hamas-controlled mosque near alleged abduction site; search to find soldier continues.

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Uzi Baruch, Tova Dvorin,

IDF soldiers expose Gaza 'terror tunnel' (fil
IDF soldiers expose Gaza 'terror tunnel' (fil
IDF Spokesperson Unit

An initial investigation into the attack during which Second Lieutenant Hadar Goldin was abducted on Friday reveals that terrorists in Rafah launched a concerted attack on a Givati Brigade force yesterday morning before kidnapping the soldier. 

The attacked killed two soldiers in Goldin's unit, and included fierce gunfire and at least one suicide bomber, according to investigators. Reinforcements arrived, saw terrorists' bodies at the scene, and realized that the platoon leader was absent from the carnage - and that a terror tunnel was beneath the battle site.

The Deputy Platoon Leader investigated the terror tunnel himself in an effort to locate Goldin, but did not manage to find any sign of the soldier nor of his kidnappers, according to the report. 

Afterwards, the rest of the reinforcements managed to piece together a map of the tunnel and established that it leads to a Hamas headquarters and mosque. 

The IDF has stormed the area in order to find Goldin and his abductors, and the battle rages even 24 hours later. 

Army spokesman Lieutenant Colonel Peter Lerner said "our understanding is that the force was attacked by a suicide bomber, (but it) seems there were several other gunmen who carried out this attack," and that Goldin had been "snatched into a tunnel."

A senior official told Arutz Sheva Saturday that "the IDF does not know what condition Lt. Hadar Goldin is in now; he was apparently taken prisoner." The operation to locate him continues Saturday night. 

The IDF is also investigating the possibility that Goldin was injured during the battle. 

Hamas's "armed wing", the Ezzedine al-Qassam Brigades, acknowledged its forces had staged an ambush early Friday in which soldiers were killed, but denied holding Goldin, saying the attackers were missing and presumed dead.

"At 7:00 am on Friday, our mujahedeen started an exchange of fire with the occupation forces... east of Rafah, and a lot of Israeli soldiers were killed and injured," the group said.  

"We have lost contact with the mujahedeen unit that was in that ambush, and we think that all the fighters in this unit were killed by Zionist shelling along with the soldier, who the enemy says is missing, assuming our combatants captured this soldier during the fighting," it said.  

"Until now, we in Qassam have no knowledge of the missing soldier, or his whereabouts or the circumstances of his disappearance."

Meanwhile, the IDF has attacked over 200 terror targets overnight Friday/Saturday, mostly in Rafah.