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Hizbullah: Arad Killed in 1988 Escape Attempt

ron arad.jpgSeeking to put the Arad affair away for good, the Hizbullah report submitted to Germany’s mediator Gerhard Konrad, and passed to Israel on Shabbos, states the IAF navigator was killed during a failed 1988 escape attempt.

The Arabic report was transferred to Israel and translated. The report was distributed to intelligence officials. The document is being studied and it will be discussed on Tuesday during the weekly cabinet meeting. In the meantime, the experts are analyzing the document towards formulating an opinion as to its legitimacy and accuracy.

As was expected, the report is not conclusive, failing to address why Arad’s body was not recovered.

The 80-page document reportedly includes maps depicting the area where Arad was held and supposedly met his death in a failed escape attempt. The report relies on ‘first hand’ knowledge of a number of people who saw Arad, about 17 months after falling into captivity over southern Lebanon.

Yuval Arad, his daughter who was 10 at the time of her dad’s disappearance, stated “we cannot declare someone dead because we have no information.” She also lashed out at the daily Ma’ariv after the newspaper ran a headline “all efforts have been exhausted.”

In essence, the document does not bring any new conclusive evidence, resulting in the Arad case remaining an unsolved mystery. Following Prime Minister Ehud Olmert’s return from France, where he and Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni are attending the Mediterranean Conference, the cabinet will hear expert analysis and recommendations from intelligence community and other experts who will have scrutinized the report.

Israel is required to submit a report to Hizbullah regarding four Iranian diplomats who disappeared from Beirut in 1982. Iranian officials have always claimed that Israel-allied Lebanese forces abducted them for Israel. Israel has denied the allegations. A former senior officer in the Israel-allied force, Samir Geagea stated the militiamen killed the four.

If the deal is approved, and most believe the cabinet will accept the Arad report, then Israel will release arch terrorist Samir Kuntar along with a number of other terrorists taken captive in the Second Lebanon War, along with the bodies of terrorists. In return, Hizbullah is committed to release IDF soldiers Eldad Regev and Ehud Goldwasser, who are presumed dead. They were taken captive on July 12, 2006 in cross-border attack. Their abduction led to the war.

If accepted, the Regev-Goldwasser prisoner exchange deal is likely to be actualized later in the week, perhaps Wednesday or Thursday. The exchange is slated to take place at the Rosh HaNikra crossing.

(Yechiel Spira – YWN Israel)

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