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Copyright 1994 The Jerusalem Report
The Jerusalem Report

January 27, 1994

HEADLINE: Israeli Airman Arad 'Being Held In Syria'

BYLINE: Joseph Matar

Ron Arad, the Israeli airman downed in South Lebanon in 1986, has been moved by his Shi'ite captors to Zabdani in Syria, close to the Lebanese border, according to a Shi'ite source in Beirut. The source, who is close to the Syrians, spoke to The Jerusalem Report on condition of anonymity.

Zabdani is a base for members of Iran's Revolutionary Guards corps and serves as a transit point for weapons and fighters making their way from Iran to Lebanon. The source said the last reports he received about Arad came in July.

"Once a week he receives a visit from a doctor," said the source. "He's under the direct charge of the Revolutionary Guards run by Hajj Taleb Miridian." According to the source, Arad has lost weight and was very sick in the summer. The doctor advised Arad's captors to take him to a hospital, but in the end, medicine was prescribed.

Arad was captured by the Syrian-backed Amal movement. But in 1988, Amal's intelligence head, Mustafa Dirani, split from the organization and took Arad with him. He handed over the Israeli navigator to a pro-Iranian group led by Hussein Mussawi, now head of the Islamic Amal fundamentalist splinter group. Since then, Arad has been moved from Baalbek in the Lebanese Biqa to a village called Maqneh, to nearby Nabishit, and then to Zabdani in Syria's part of the valley. Since March 1992, he has apparently been moved back and forth between Nabishit and Zabdani.

In early January, a U.S. congressional committee arrived in Syria and Lebanon to search for clues on the fate and whereabouts of Israeli soldiers missing in action, including Arad.

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