Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu told the US that Hamas broke the ceasefire in kidnapping an IDF soldier and the White House condemned Hamas’ attack as a violation of the newly reached humanitarian ceasefire and called for the release of the abducted soldier.
“That would be a rather barbaric violation of the ceasefire agreement,” White House spokesman Josh Earnest said on CNN.
Earnest called on Hamas to release the abducted Israeli soldier and said Secretary of State John Kerry had already spoken to Prime Minister Netanyahu about the next steps in the Gaza crisis.
Netanyahu told Kerry that despite his joint statement with UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, according to which assurances had been received from Hamas and the other terrorist organizations in the Gaza Strip regarding a ceasefire, the Palestinians had unilaterally and grossly violated the humanitarian ceasefire and attacked our soldiers after 9 pm.
In a statement, Netanyahu said that the kidnapping took place after the ceasefire had taken effect.
Netanyahu further told Kerry that Hamas and the other terrorist organizations in Gaza Strip will bear the consequences of their actions and that Israel would take all necessary steps against those who call for our destruction and perpetrate terrorism against our citizens.
The United States urged the international community to condemn the Hamas ceasefire violation in the “strongest possible terms,” Earnest said.
“And we would encourage those who have influence with Hamas to get them back on to the terms of the ceasefire and to get them to abide by the agreements that they struck just yesterday,” he said.
Netanyahu spokesman Mark Regev said Hamas militants had attacked Israeli soldiers 1-1/2 hours after the ceasefire, killing two and apparently taking one hostage.
“This appears to be an absolutely outrageous action by Hamas, using the cover of a ceasefire to conduct a surprise attack through a tunnel, killing Israeli soldiers and perhaps taking one hostage,” Tony Blinken, White House deputy national security adviser, said on MSNBC. “We strongly, strongly condemn it.”