Copyright 2003 Jerusalem Post
HEADLINE: Israel asks Egypt to help find remains of MIAs
BYLINE: ARIEH O'SULLIVAN
Four years since after the remains of two missing soldiers were found on a Yom Kippur War battlefield, Israel has asked Egypt to resume searches for 16 others, officers said Tuesday.
The officers declined to say through what channels the request was made. But they said the IDF's Unit for Locating Missing Soldiers has never ceased its quest to locate the remains of all those left on the battlefield.
The IDF has declared all these MIAs dead but it has a strong tradition of bringing home all soldiers for proper burial.
The 16 include tank crews, pilots, navigators, and infantry. Egypt had periodically allowed Israeli teams to carry out search expeditions in the Sinai and on the western side of the Suez Canal since the Camp David peace accords were signed in 1979.
The last bodies recovered were in December 1999 when the remains of two tank crew members were located under three meters of Sinai sand. It was aided by the use of advanced navigational systems and extremely precise measuring equipment.
But Egypt reportedly pulled the plug on further searches after the outbreak of Palestinian violence three years ago, followed by the withdrawal of its ambassador from Tel Aviv.
The IDF unit is still looking for some 300 soldiers missing from all of Israel's wars, including some who fought with the British during World War II, before the founding of the state. Any such search, against great odds, requires a combination of persistence, cooperation, and diplomacy that Israel has exhibited to an extraordinary degree. The discovery of the submarine Dakar in 1999 after 31 years was perhaps the most impressive result of such efforts, but they continue on a daily basis, far from the public eye.
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