The Mossad has operated in Syria and Lebanon in an effort to gather information on the whereabouts of Ron Arad, an Israeli Air Force navigator who went missing in action in 1986, Saudi media outlet Al Arabiya reported Tuesday.
According to the report, Mossad agents extracted DNA from a body located in the village Al-Nabi Shayth in South Lebanon as part of an operation to find more information on Arad's fate.
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In addition, the London-based website Rai al-Youm reported on Tuesday that Mossad agents had kidnapped a former Iranian general in Syria and taken him to an unnamed country in Africa for interrogation. The general was later released, according to the report.
The navigator’s plane was shot down over Lebanon in 1986 and he is widely assumed to no longer to be alive.
The Saudi channel said that the Israeli operation was double-faceted. One part had the Mossad gathering DNA samples from corpses that were found buried in the South Lebanese village of Nabi Chit to see if any of the remains were those of Arad, while the other facet entailed the kidnapping.
On Monday, as the Knesset reconvened for its winter session Prime Minister Naftali Bennett revealed that Mossad agents recently took part in "a courageous mission to gather new information on missing navigator Ron Arad."
Thirty-five years on, Arad's fate has not been deciphered. His plane blew up in Lebanon after a malfunction during the bombing of Palestine Liberation Organization targets near the southern city of Sidon, but he and the pilot Yishai Aviram escaped the plane before it crashed.
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Aviram was rescued by the IDF, but Arad was captured by Shi'ite militia group Amal. It is believed that he was later apprehended by the Iranian Revolutionary Guards in Lebanon.