President Obama says a soldier believed captured by Hamas ''needs to be unconditionally released as soon as possible'' and that he will continue to make efforts to restore a broken Gaza ceasefire. Rough Cut (no reporter narration).
ROUGH CUT (NO REPORTER NARRATION) U.S. President Obama condemned a reported Hamas attack on Israeli soldiers in Gaza, Friday (August 1) and for breaching a ceasefire soon after it came into effect. Referring to Hamas, Obama said, "If they are serious about trying to resolve this situation, that soldier needs to be unconditionally released as soon as possible." Renewed Israeli shelling killed more than 50 Palestinians and wounded some 220, hospital officials said. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called his security cabinet into special session and publicly warned Hamas and other militant groups they would "bear the consequences of their actions". The 72-hour break announced by U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon was the most ambitious attempt so far to end more than three weeks of fighting, and followed mounting international alarm over a rising Palestinian civilian death toll. "Israel committed to that 72-hour ceasefire, and it was violated. And trying to put that back together is going to be challenging but we will continue to make those efforts," Obama said. The ceasefire, which began at 8 a.m. (0500 GMT), had prompted Palestinian families to trek back to battle-devastated neighborhoods where rows of homes have been reduced to rubble. It was to be followed by Israeli-Palestinian negotiations in Cairo on a longer-term solution. A senior Egyptian Foreign Ministry official said the talks would start on Sunday, and that Cairo "expects the two sides to cease fire before the launch of negotiations".