UK & World News
Israel Denies 'Soldier Captured' Amid Shelling
Israel's UN Ambassador denies reports that Hamas' armed wing has captured an Israeli soldier, amid an assault on the Gaza Strip that has killed at least 100 Palestinians.
Ron Prosor told reporters at the United Nations where an emergency meeting on the crisis is taking place: "There's no kidnapped Israeli soldier and those rumours are untrue."
Earlier, masked spokesman Abu Ubaida, speaking on a Hamas television station, claimed: "We have captured a Zionist soldier and the occupation has not admitted that."
It comes after 13 Israeli soldiers were also killed during the country's ground offensive in Gaza, making it the deadliest day of the recent conflict between Israel and Hamas.
People fleeing the shelling in the northeast Gazan neighbourhood of Shaja'iya described it as a "massacre", with many women and children among the dead.
But Israel's Prime Minister Bejamin Netanyahu vowed to continue the military incursion to secure the safety of those living in the south of the country.
The Israeli military said the 13 soldiers, from Golani brigade, died during the offensive on Sunday, including seven who were killed after their armoured personnel carrier was hit by an anti-tank missile.
Officials said 35,000 people fled the fighting in Gaza on Sunday as the artillery bombardment began.
Sky's Sherine Tadros, reporting from Shaja'iya, said: "We have seen hundreds upon hundreds of people leaving and they are not carrying bags packed with clothes, they are not carrying anything. They are literally running for their lives.
"They are leaving this area but of course there is nowhere safe here. You expect to see all these people flee across a border, but they can't cross a border. Gaza is completely locked off."
An Israeli military spokeswoman said residents in Shaja'iya were warned to evacuate the area two days ago through recorded messages.
US Secretary of State John Kerry was overheard expressing what appeared to be pointed concern over the deaths of civilians during the Israeli bombardment of Gaza.
In a conversation caught on microphone before an interview, Mr Kerry made what seemed to be a sarcastic remark about Israel's insistence it was doing its utmost to avoid civilian casualties in operations against Hamas militants.
"It's a hell of a pinpoint operation. It's a hell of a pinpoint operation," he said during the call.
Mr Kerry who is expected to travel to the Middle East soon to press for a ceasefire was also overheard saying to an aide: "We got to get over there ... we ought to go tonight. I think it's crazy to be sitting around."
Meanwhile, US President Barack Obama told Mr Netanyahu during a telephone call that he had serious concerns about the rising number of casualties, "and stressed the need to protect civilians-in Gaza and in Israel".
Speaking at a press conference, Mr Netanyahu said: "We are carrying out a complex, deep, intensive activity inside the Gaza Strip and there is world support for this ... very strong support within the international community for the activity that the IDF is doing."
Hamas accepted a proposal - secured by the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) - for a two-hour humanitarian ceasefire on Sunday.
But an Israeli military spokesman said the ground offensive had resumed after the temporary truce was breached by Hamas fighters within an hour.
Earlier Naftali Bennett, Israeli economic minister, told Sky News Hamas was "cynically" using women and children as human shields.
"They only difference between us and Hamas in Gaza is that they are deliberately sending their women and children to stand next to missile launchers in order for them to get killed and then they cry to the world that they are being killed," he said.
The Palestinian leadership slammed the "massacre" in Shaja'iya, while the Arab League claimed Israel had committed "war crimes".
The Israeli military has said it has hit more than 2,500 targets in Gaza, including 1,100 rocket launchers, after nearly two weeks of fighting.
It has said around 70 militants have been killed and another 13 brought to Israel for questioning after more than 1,760 rockets were fired at Israeli cities since July 8.
UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has travelled to Qatar to try to restart ceasefire efforts.
Last week, Hamas rejected an Egyptian-brokered truce - saying it would only agree if Israel and Egypt significantly eased the border blockade of Gaza.
Since the start of the fighting, more than 425 Palestinians have been killed and more than 2,600 wounded, according to the Gaza Health Ministry.
A total of 18 Israeli military personnel have been killed and two Israeli civilians have also died in rocket attacks.