Copyright 2003 Haaretz
HEADLINE: Army considers declaring three missing Sultan Yakub soldiers killed in action
BYLINE: Amos Harel and Roni Singer
The IDF is considering declaring the three soldiers
missing since the Sultan Yakub battle of 1982 in
Lebanon as killed in action.
Channel 1 reported last night that a special report prepared in the army did not find any evidence to back up the possibility that the three - Zecharia Baumel, Zvi Feldman and Yehuda Katz - are still alive, and the existing information strengthens assessments the three are dead.
The three soldiers were in a tank that took part in the fierce Israeli-Syrian tank battle near the Syrian border on June 12, 1982, during Israel's invasion of Lebanon. Their tank was later paraded through the streets of Damascus, but no trace of the three soldiers was ever found. Twenty soldiers were killed in the battle, and two were taken prisoner by the Syrians and later returned in a prisoner exchange deal.
Katz was commander of one of the two tanks that disappeared during the battle, while Feldman and Baumel were crewmen on another tank.
Baumel held dual Israeli-U.S. citizenship and ever since he disappeared, his parents have dedicated their lives to finding him, following up countless leads. Interviewed on Channel 1 last night, Zecharia's father Yona Baumel indicated he did not know about the determination that the three were dead. He said he was pressing the military to make a definitive verdict about the fate of the soldiers.
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