(Vosizneias.com) Close to 40 years after he went missing in action following the Battle of Sultan Yacoub, the body of Israeli soldier Zachary Baumel has been returned to Israel for burial.
Baumel’s body was repatriated to Israel via a third country several days ago and identified by his DNA at the Abu Kabir Forensic Institute as well as by the Chief Military Rabbi Brig.-Gen. Eyal Karim, IDF Spokesperson Brig.-Gen. Ronen Manelis said on Wednesday.
“This was a long-term effort by the intelligence community and the Missing Persons Division during which various operational activities were carried out to locate the missing soldiers,” the statement said, adding that the military is “committed to continuing the efforts to locate Sergeant Yehuda Katz, Sergeant Tzvika Feldman and all the missing soldiers and captives, and all fallen IDF soldiers whose burial places are unknown.”
There was no prisoner exchange, Manelis said, explaining that it was an operational mission carried out by military intelligence. “We never gave up on returning our missing soldiers from Sultan Yacoub. There were several operations in this regard,” he said.
The battle of Sultan Yacoub took place on the sixth day of the First Lebanon War in June 1982. Twenty Israeli soldiers were killed in the battle that took place in Syria, and eight IDF tanks remained in Syrian hands, among them the one that held Baumel, Feldman and Katz.