Golani Brigade combat soldier First Sergeant Oron Shaulwas killed last July 20 by Hamas infiltrators in the Gaza Belt region during Operation Protective Edge, and now a year later his body remains captured by Hamas.
Marking a year since the abduction of Shaul's body, Hamas's "armed wing," the Al-Qassam Brigades, published a statement claiming that Israel will never obtain any information about "the captured soldier Oron Shaul" despite its advanced intelligence capabilities.
"Today the hope of the prisoners (jailed terrorists - ed.) to obtain freedom soon is renewed, while the enemy is in an embarrassment on this issue, and is helpless despite its use of all the intelligence means at its disposal in an attempt to obtain any scrap of information about its captured soldier," read the statement.
Hamas gave the impression that Shaul was captured alive as it has on other occasions, even though the IDF confirmed he was killed when the APC (armored personnel carrier) he was in was hit by a Hamas RPG (rocket propelled grenade). Further putting a dent in the credibility of the Hamas claim is that the terror group has not given any evidence that Shaul is alive, or actively pressed for a prisoner swap as would be expected if they had a live soldier in their clutches.
Hamas claimed that "at 12:45 a.m. in the morning on July 20, 2014, brigade activists succeeded in capturing the soldier Oron Shaul to the east of Gaza City, (in an attack - ed.) which brought about the death of 14 soldiers and the wounding of dozens, including Golani brigade commander Rasan Elian, and Shaul has (now) entered his 365th day in the hands of (the) Al-Qassam (Brigades)."
In a subtle admission of the unreliability of the contents, the statement from the terrorist organization added: "our statements express the truth and honesty, and our jihadist fighters are the initiators on the campaign field, and the public of the enemy should follow our statements to know the truth from us and not from its lying leadership."
The direct call on the Israeli public to believe the statements would seem to clearly express how the announcement is intended by Hamas to be a propaganda tool, causing the Israeli public to pressure the government to cave in to Hamas demands and release large numbers of terrorists falsely believing Shaul is still alive.
Aside from Shaul the body of another fallen IDF soldier is being held by Hamas; Givati Brigade first lieutenant Hadar Goldin was killed on August 1, 2014 at the height of the operation after Hamas terrorists breached one of several ceasefires to attack his unit on the outskirts of the city of Rafah.
Likewise two Israeli civilians are being held alive by Hamas after entering Gaza apparently due to mental illness. Defense Minister Moshe Ya'alon (Likud) has said Israel will do all it can to free the captives but will not release terrorists.