The Mossad, Israel’s national intelligence agency, abducted an Iranian general from Syria in September to uncover new information about missing Israel Air Force navigator Ron Arad, the London-based Arabic newspaper Rai al-Youm reported on October 4.
According to the report, the Iranian general was taken to an African country where he was interrogated by Israeli agents then released.
Ron Arad’s warplane crashed in South Lebanon while carrying out a combat mission on 16 October 1986. Arad managed to eject from the warplane. However, he was captured by the Shiite Amal Movement. Talks to secure his release as a part of a prisoner swap failed in 1988. After this time, credible information about Arad’s fate has been hard to obtain.
According to Rai al-Youm, the alleged Iranian operation in Cyprus that was supposed to target Israelis but had been thwarted last week, might have been launched in response for the Mossad operation in Syria.
The Mossad operation was revealed by Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett in a speech to the Knesset plenum on October 4. The operation was heavily criticized for its high-risk and doubtful results.
Israel’s Channel 12 news cited Mossad chief David Barnea as calling the operation courageous, daring and complex but nonetheless a “failure” in an internal meeting.
In response to the criticism, the Prime Minister’s Office released a statement describing the operation as “successful operation carried out while meeting exceptional operational objectives.”
Syria and Iran have not commented yet on Beneett’s claims or the report of Rai al-Youm. Both countries keep their security matters under wraps.
During a 2006 speech, Lebanese Hezbollah Secretary-General Hassan Nasrallah said the group believed Arad was dead and his burial site unknown. Despite this, Israel continues to search for the missing navigator using covert and overt means.
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