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Copyright 2003 Jerusalem Post
October 8

HEADLINE: IDF: Sultan Ya'akov MIA's "dead - burial place unknown"


The IDF is planning to classify the three soldiers missing from the 1982 Sultan Ya'akov tank battle as soldiers whose burial place is unknown, Channel One reported Wednesday.

The battle took place at the outset of the Israel's operation in Lebanon in 1982.

On June 11, 1982, five Israeli soldiers went missing in the battle with Syrian forces near the Lebanese village of Sultan Yaqub (Ya'akov in Hebrew).

News agency reports at the time said Israeli soldiers - or possibly bodies of Israeli soldiers - were displayed during a parade by Syrians in Damascus. On July 4, 1982, the Syrians held a mock funeral in the Jewish cemetery in Damascus for four IDF soldiers.

Several years later, two of the captured soldiers were returned to Israel in prisoner exchanges with Syria and Achmed Jibril's PFLP-GC (Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine-General Command).

The three IDF soldiers still missing from the battle are Zachary Baumel, Yehuda Katz, and Tzvi Feldman.

Yehuda Baumel, Zachary's father said on TV Wednesday night that the Baumel family will continue its own efforts to obtain information on Zachary's fate. Baumel added that he had sources in Damascus that indicated his son was alive.

Channel One reported that a military report recently handed to top IDF brass came to the conclusion that the soldiers were dead, and that their burial place is unknown.

IDF chief Rabbi Brig.-Gen. Israel Weiss will have to decide whether to classify the soldiers as being deceased.

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