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Copyright 2005 Jerusalem Post
March 29

HEADLINE: New information on Ron Arad being verified


New information has been received regarding the fate of Lt.-Col. Ron Arad, said the missing air force navigator's brother, Chen Arad, on Monday. According to Arad, officials are currently checking the veracity of the new information.

Speaking with Army Radio, Arad's brother also criticized the government, claiming that it had no intention of fulfilling the second part of the prisoner swap agreement.

"The second stage was never meant to happen, and if everybody is comfortable, from the chief of staff through the Ministry of Defense to the prime minister, then we'll say that there was a second stage. Let's give them this opportunity to maintain their respect, and say that it was always meant to happen, but has just been delayed," said Arad.

The first stage of a prisoner swap deal between Hizbullah and Israel was carried out in January 2004 when Israel released 400 Palestinian and Lebanese prisoners in exchange for the return of kidnapped Israeli businessman Elhanan Tannenbaum and the bodies of St.-Sgts. Benny Avraham, Omar Sawayid and Adi Avitan who were killed in October 2000.

In the framework of the second phase, Israel was reportedly to release terrorist Samir Kuntar, who murdered three members of the Haran family in Nahariya in 1979, in return for information on missing airman Ron Arad.

The Arad family, together with the Born to Freedom Foundation, recently announced the creation of a $10 million prize for information that leads to finding Arad, who has been missing since he was forced to eject from his plane in over Lebanon in October 1986. The announcement of the establishment of the prize was broadcast in English, Hebrew, Arabic and Farsi, and was broadcast to television viewers in Iranian.

In the past, monetary awards have helped lead to information on such high-profile cases as the Lockerbie explosion and the whereabouts of Saddam Hussein.

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