German Intel Chief: Shalit Return Will Be a Proud Moment for My Country

Ernst Uhrlau hails operation 'a huge success;' German intelligence officials warn however that situation is still fragile.

Yossi Melman head
Yossi Melman
Send in e-mailSend in e-mail
Yossi Melman head
Yossi Melman

The head of the German intelligence service (BND), Ernst Uhrlau, referred on Friday to the role his agents played in the release of Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit, hailing the operation as a "huge success".

Speaking on ARD public television, Uhrlau - who had aided Israel in talks geared at retrieving former IDF officer Elhanan Tannenbaum from Hezbollah captivity in 2004 - said that "the BND was entrusted with the task of supporting (the mission) with particularly qualified, experienced colleagues, who know the Middle East well."

"If we achieved a result that will shortly see Shalit return to his family after five and a half years, then that is a huge success," he said, "and if Germany and the BND played a part in that, then that makes us proud.

Uhrlau refused to elaborate further on the operation. "Please understand that we are talking about a humanitarian action that we have been involved in for a long time and we cannot talk about the details," he said.

Earlier on Friday, intelligence official warned that the situation was still fragile until the terms of the deal take place on the ground.

The German officials were asked about the role of Iran and Syria in the process, but they denied any involvement by the two countries.

As the plans appear now, Shalit will be taken from the Gaza Strip into Sinai and from there into Israel through one of the border crossings with Egypt. Once he reaches Sinai, the Israelis will release 27 female Palestinian security prisoners. When Shalit enters Israel after five years in captivity, 450 major prisoners, whose identities have already been agreed on between Israel and Hamas, will be released.

Noam and Aviva Shalit, parents of abducted Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit.Credit: AFP

Comments

SUBSCRIBERS JOIN THE CONVERSATION FASTER

Automatic approval of subscriber comments.

Subscribe today and save 40%

Already signed up? LOG IN

ICYMI

Palestinians search through the rubble of a building in which Khaled Mansour, a top Islamic Jihad militant was killed following an Israeli airstrike in Rafah, southern Gaza strip, on Sunday.

Gazans Are Tired of Pointless Wars and Destruction, and Hamas Listens to Them

Trump and Netanyahu at the White House in Washington, in 2020.

Three Years Later, Israelis Find Out What Trump Really Thought of Netanyahu

German soldier.

The Rival Jewish Spies Who Almost Changed the Course of WWII

Rio. Not all Jewish men wear black hats.

What Does a Jew Look Like? The Brits Don't Seem to Know

Galon. “I’m coming to accomplish a specific mission: to increase Meretz’s strength and ensure that the party will not tread water around the electoral threshold. If Meretz will be large enough, it will be the basis for a Jewish-Arab partnership.” Daniel Tchetchik

'I Have No Illusions About Ending the Occupation, but the Government Needs the Left'

Soldiers using warfare devices made by the Israeli defense electronics company Elbit Systems.

Russia-Ukraine War Catapults Israeli Arms Industry to Global Stage