mia2b.jpg (4487 bytes)

Copyright 1996 The Jerusalem Post
The Jerusalem Post

July 22, 1996



The return of the bodies of Yosef Fink and Rahamim Alsheikh has once again raised questions regarding the whereabouts of air force navigator Maj. Ron Arad, and the three missing soldiers from the battle of Sultan Ya'acoub, St.-Sgt. Zvi Feldman, St.-Sgt. Zecharia Baumel, and Cpl. Yehuda Katz.

Arad was captured on October 16, 1986, when a malfunction in his Phantom jet caused it to crash during an attack on terrorist bases near Sidon. The plane's pilot was rescued by helicopter, but Arad was captured by several dozen members of the Amal terror group.

He was brought by the group to Beirut, where Amal leader Nabih Berri offered to return him in a prisoner exchange. The person who was in charge of Arad during his period in Beirut was Mustafa Dirani, head of Amal's security apparatus, who was known to have close ties to Iran.

At the beginning of 1988, Dirani left Amal and took Arad with him. Since then, there has been no word of his fate. Iran denies it is holding him or that it has any information about him.

In 1994, Mustafa Dirani was kidnapped by Israel in the hope he could later be traded for Arad.

Feldman, Baumel, and Katz have been missing since the Sultan Ya'acoub battle on June 11, 1982. Several Israeli tanks were hit, and six soldiers from two tanks were either killed or taken prisoner.

One tank commander, St.-Sgt. Hezi Shai, was taken prisoner by Ahmed Jibril's terrorist group and was held in Damascus. In May 1985, he was returned in a prisoner exchange. St.-Sgt. Ariel Lieberman, who was also in the tank, was taken prisoner by Syria and returned in a prisoner exchange in June 1994. Baumel and Feldman, who were both in that tank, disappeared.

Return to Archive