MOSCOW - A senior Israeli official said on Thursday that Moscow clarified to Jerusalem that the publication of the fact the Russia and Syria collaborated with Israel to retrieve the body of missing Israeli soldier Staff Sgt. Zachary Baumel won't put an end to the operation to locate the other Israeli soldiers missing in action.
The other soldiers went missing after the failed Sultan Yaacoub battle during the Second Lebanon War in 1982. Israeli soldiers found themselves surrounded by Syrian forces, and 20 IDF soldiers were killed in the ensuing battle. Six soldiers were taken captive. Two soldiers taken captive and the body of a third missing soldier were returned in 1984 and 1985. The whereabouts of two others, Zvi Feldman and Yehuda Katz, are still unknown.
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Baumel's remains were uncovered in a cemetery of the Yarmouk refugee camp in Damascus, Anwar Raja, an official from the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine - General Command, a pro-Syrian regime faction which operates in that district, told the Lebanese Al-Mayadeen news channel. According to Raja, Baumel's remains were smuggled to Turkey and then transferred to Israel on Wednesday.
On Thursday, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu met with Russian President Vladimir Putin, where Netanyahu thanked Russia for its efforts and added that Russian soldiers endangered themselves in the quest to locate Baumel's body.