According to its PM, Israel’s Mossad spy Agency has conducted a “courageous” operation in an effort to find out what happened with missing pilot Ron Arad.
Naftali Bennett stated to parliament that he couldn’t give more details about his mission to solve the country’s greatest mysteries.
Israeli TV quoted Mossad’s chief as saying that the effort was unsuccessful.
Lt Col Arad is missing from his plane that crashed over Lebanon in 1986 during a bombing raid. He is believed to be dead.
After they had failed to return, the Israeli forces rescued the pilot of the plane. However, Lt Col Arad was taken by Amal, a Lebanese Shia Muslim militia.
Amal offered Amal to exchange him for 200 Lebanese prisoners and 450 Palestinian prisoners. After Israel refused to swap the Palestinian prisoners for Amal, negotiations reportedly fell apart.
According to a 2016 report from the Mossad, and Israeli military intelligence, Lt. Col. Arad died likely in captivity in 1988.
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Bennett spoke at Monday’s Knesset winter session opening. He said that male and female Mossad agents had launched a “complex and wide-ranging operation” last month to find out more about Lt Col Arad’s fate.
He said, “This is all that can ever be shared at the moment.”
Later, Channel 12 quoted Mossad chief Barnea as saying to an internal Mossad meeting that he had said: “It wasn’t a brave, daring, complicated operation but it failed.” We failed.”
The prime minister’s office issued a response to the report, stating that the mission was not a failure and that it was “a successful one that was executed while meeting exceptional operational objectives”.
It also supported Mr Bennett’s decision not to reveal the information to the general public, saying that it reflected “the effort and immense dedication invested in bringing our boys back”.
Channel 12’s family said that Lt Col Arad was still hopeful that “maybe one day we will find out Ron’s fate”.