US President Barack Obama called for the soldier to be “unconditionally” released, but also said more must be done to protect Gaza civilians.
Israeli Justice Minister Tzipi Livni, a member of the eight-strong security cabinet, accused Hamas of being behind the disappearance of the missing soldier and said the group would pay a high price.
However early Saturday the Ezzedine al-Qassam Brigades, Hamas´ armed wing, said it had no information on the whereabouts of the missing soldier, 23-year-old Second Lieutenant Hadar Goldin.
“The Ezzedine al-Qassam Brigades has no information on this soldier. We have lost contact with one of our combatant groups, which was fighting in the sector where the soldier went missing and it is possible that our fighters and this soldier were killed,” the group said in a statement.
The intensive fighting on Friday and early Saturday, which ensued after a planned three-day ceasefire collapsed, left a total of 101 Palestinians dead and 350 wounded, said Palestinian emergency services spokesman Acjraf al-QodraFifteen of those victims, including five children aged 3-12, came from the same family whose house was destroyed, he added.
More than 1,650 Palestinians, the vast majority of them civilians, have been killed in the 26 days since the present conflict started, Qodra said.
Shelling killed dozens of people in southern Gaza hours into the truce, which began at 8:00 am (0500 GMT) Friday and had been due to last 72 hours.Hamas accused Israel of breaking the short-lived ceasefire, while the Jewish state said it was responding to militant rocket fire.