BETHLEHEM (Ma'an) -- 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 said in a statement 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.
Shaul was defined by the committee 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 that they captured his body after he was killed.
Israel has in the past exchanged the bodies of dead Israeli soldiers for Palestinian and Lebanese prisoners held in Israeli jails, as well as the bodies of militants that were being held by Israel.
An Israel-Hezbollah exchange in 2008 traded the bodies of two Israeli soldiers for five Lebanese prisoners as well as the remains of nearly 200 Palestinian and Lebanese militants in Israeli custody.
More than 6,000 Palestinian prisoners are currently being held in Israeli prisons.