The Israeli military has confirmed that Israeli soldiers and civilians have been captured by Hamas and are being held in the Gaza Strip. At the same time, Israeli officials deny reports that an Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) general has been kidnapped.

According to the BBC, Hamas claims to have captured 53 “prisoners of war”. The IDF would not comment on more precise details.

Some of the hostages are believed to be hiding in some of the small towns near the Gaza Strip, while others have been taken back to Gaza.

Videos of Hamas fighters with Israeli hostages have already been released on social media:

The Israeli military spokesman specifically said that “Israeli soldiers and civilians” were abducted during the infiltration of Hamas gunmen into Israeli territory today.

“There are soldiers and civilians who have been abducted (and are being held in the Gaza Strip), I cannot give information about that at this time. This is a war crime committed by Hamas and it will pay the price,” the army spokesman told reporters.