Search for Remains of Israeli Spy Eli Cohen Taking Place in Syria

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Russian forces in Syria, last October.
Russian forces in Syria, last October.Credit: DELIL SOULEIMAN - AFP

A search for the remains of Israeli spy Eli Cohen is taking place in Syria, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told i24NEWS on Tuesday.

Cohen, Israel's spy in Syria, was caught, tried, convicted and executed in Damascus on May 18, 1965.

The prime minister confirmed a report in February by London-based Arabic-language news website Rai al-Youm that Russia is working to locate the remains of Cohen in order to repatriate them to Israel.

Netanyahu told the news channel that the report was true, but that he could divulge no further information. He also mentioned the 2019 repatriation of the remains of Staff Sgt. Zechariah Baumel, killed 37 years earlier in the First Lebanon War. Netanyahu attributed this release to his “close ties with Russian President Vladimir Putin,” who he said “sent his forces, under the recommendations of intelligence information we gave them ... and we are continuing these efforts for Eli Cohen and anyone else.” 

In an interview given to Army Radio, Netanyahu added: “We are not easing up, and our efforts are still continuing. Not unusually so, but in an ongoing effort, and I hope it will have results.”

Putin’s announcement that Baumel’s body had been found came during a visit to Moscow by Netanyahu in April of 2019, days before an election. Netanyahu’s comment on the search for Cohen’s remains came two weeks before the upcoming election, scheduled for March 23.

More details soon...