Israeli Defence Minister Moshe Ya'alon tweeted that Hadar Goldin, the soldier thought to have been kidnapped by Hamas and later declared dead, is his relative.
“Hadar Goldin is a member of my family. I have known him since he was born. He and the fallen IDF fighters have gone to battle to restore calm and security to Israel. I embrace their families,” Ya'alon tweeted Sunday morning, hours after the soldier was declared dead and his family notified.
Ya'alon's grandfather was the brother of Goldin’s great-grandmother. The publication of the relationship was censored until after Goldin was declared dead for fear that Hamas would use the information.
Ya'alon knew Simcha Goldin, the dead soldier’s father, from childhood and had known Hadar since his birth. Ya'alon once lectured at Hadar Goldin’s high school at his request, Ynet reported.
The IDF announced early Sunday morning that it had determined that Goldin was killed in action. The determination was based on an analysis of what took place on the battlefield, a medical review, Jewish legal considerations and other considerations.
Hadar and his twin brother, Tzur, served at the same time as combat soldiers and trained together as officers. He and his fiancée, Edna, were engaged a few months ago and were planning their wedding.
Meanwhile, on Sunday, Israeli media reported that the IDF has withdrawn most of its troops from Gaza to areas around the border, Israeli media reported.
Despite the withdrawals there has been no order to end the Gaza operation, in its 26th day.
The IDF spokesperson said in a tweet that “As operation Protective Edge moves to the next stage, we are redeploying to enable combat against Hamas & continued defence from tunnels.”
IDF strikes on Gaza reportedly have decreased in frequency. Rafah reportedly is the only area where IDF forces are continuing to operate, as they work to destroy a tunnel, according to Ynet.
Rockets fired from Gaza continued to strike southern Israel on Sunday, however.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in a nationally televised news conference on Saturday night did not set a time for the end of Operation Protective Edge. “Every option is on the table to ensure long-term quiet to the residents of Israel,” he said. “I won’t say when we’ll finish and where we’ll go. We have no obligation outside of our security concerns.”
Israel also was scheduled to open Gaza crossings Sunday to allow 200 trucks of humanitarian aid, including medicines and medical equipment, into the area.