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Copyright 1991 The Jerusalem Post
The Jerusalem Post

August 29, 1991

HEADLINE: Israel demands Iran free missing airman Arad


Now that we have proof that navigator Ron Arad is alive and being held by the Iranian Revolutionary Guards, it is up to Iran to publish more details and free him, a Defense Ministry spokesman said yesterday.

The statement came in response to new evidence indicating that Arad is alive, and that he was sold by the Amal militia to the Iranian Revolutionary guards.

Sources in the Defense Ministry say that although they are cautiously optimistic on the hostage negotiating process, no deal will be made until the whereabouts of the other six MiAs are made known to Israel. Chief of Staff Major-Gen. Ehud Barak said today in a meeeting with military correspondents that he had nothing new to report on the hostage issue.

AP adds:

Claims by Lebanese and Palestinian militias account for six of the seven missing Israeli soldiers whose fate Israel wants to know about before agreeing to a prisoner swap that could free Western hostages.

But Israel says it wants proof of the soldiers' situations before releasing Arab prisoners whose freedom has been demanded by Lebanese factions exchange for the 11 Westerners missing in Lebanon.

Here is what is known about the missing Israelis:

The Shi'ite Muslim faction Amal says it has the bodies of two soldiers captured just after Israel's 1982 invasion of Lebanon. These could be Sgts. Zachary Baumel and Zvi Feldman, who were taken prisoner during a tank battle on June 11 that year.

There has been no word on the fate of Cpl. Yehuda Katz, who was captured in another tank in the same battle. Amal also says Ron Arad, an Israeli navigator seized when his plane was shot down in October 1986, was sold to Iran's Revolutionary Guards and was believed alive in Teheran. It said a former Amal official sold Arad for $500,000.

Another Lebanese Shi'ite militia, Hezbollah, says it has two Israelis but did not make clear whether they are alive. These two are believed to be Yossi Fink and Rahamim Alsheikh, who were captured Feb. 17, 1986, during an ambush of an Israeli patrol in south Lebanon.

The Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine has said it has the body of Israeli Druse Sgt. Samir Assad, who was captured near Sidon in April 1983. It says Assad was killed in a 1984 Israeli air raid on Rabbit Island off the Lebanese coast.

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