Three Lost Israeli Soldiers – Not the End

In a dramatic announcement to the media, following separate interviews with the families, the head of the IDF’s personnel directorate, Maj-Gen Gil Regev, declared that fresh, reliable intelligence data supported the long-standing presumption that the three soldiers abducted last October 7 on the Israel-Lebanese frontier, died during the attack or soon after. They were probably killed or gravely wounded by the explosive charge which went off near their jeep during their border patrol stint.
Maj-Gen. Regev’s disclosures confirm that Israel is in possession of a secret videotape of the early stage of the abduction. It therefore has a record of the explosion that most probably left the three soldiers dead or seriously wounded.
No sign of life has ever been received in Israel from any of the missing eighteen-year olds, Benny Avraham, Adi Avitan and Omar Suwad, despite the good offices of many world diplomats. Neither did any of the Red Cross demands to visit them ever meet with a response. They were never been seen again after October 7 2000.
debkafile‘s intelligence sources have consistently claimed that the Hizballah never vouchsafed the slightest scrap of information because the group never held the three men, or the Israeli businessman Elhanan Tanenboim who was kidnapped in Europe at about the same time. This publication was alone in contending that the abduction was set up by the former Hizballah master hostage-taker Imad Mughniyeh, at present senior terror adviser to the Iranian supreme ruler, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and in close association with Osama bin Laden. Their complete disappearance is accounted for by their removal from Lebanon.
Some weeks after the abduction, debkafile carried a report from its intelligence sources in the Gulf emirates that Mughniyeh had handed the four Israelis or their bodies over to Osama bin Laden’s men.
One thing was very clear: The Hizballah leader Sheikh Hassan Nasrallah never had possession of the missing Israelis or even knowledge of their whereabouts. His ranting speeches demanding that Israel surrender all the Lebanese and Palestinian prisoners in its hands to purchase information on their state of health were huge bluffs. The information drawn by the German foreign minister Joschke Fischer in recent visits to Beirut and Tehran supports this contention.
And indeed Maj.-Gen Regev refused to be drawn out by press questions on the Hizballah’s role in the affair. For once, a Hizballah television newscast soon after the Israeli briefing offered nothing but a hackneyed response. The new disclosures are reported to have taken the voluble Hizballah leader by surprise – even embarrassed him – and not surprisingly. His most valuable tool of extortion was suddenly whipped out of his hands. His followers will not fail to note that Israel would have given up the Hizballah prisoners, at least, for information about the missing men, an opportunity that was missed.
Mughniyeh now appears on Washington’s list of 22 most wanted terrorists, a presumed accomplice of Osama bin Laden in the September 11 atrocities in New York and Washington. Today, more circles are open to debkafile‘s conviction that he captured the four Israelis at bin Laden’s behest.
In arcane top terrorist circles, few are privy to the secret of where the missing men are hidden or their bodies buried. One is an Iranian, the Revolutionary Guards chief Maj.-Gen. Yahya Rahim Safavi, who provides Mughniyeh with the logistical infrastructure for his operations.
The men in Tehran say they have seen the back of Mughiyeh, hoping thus to put an end to the endless search for the missing Israelis. In actual fact, they want to wash their hands at this time of the terrorist taint and throw off American charges that Ayatollah Khamenei is a practitioner of terrorism. They also have a stake in the developing war in next-door Afghanistan.
The mystery here lies in the timing of the Israeli army’s readiness to buy intoIran’s game and close the books on the abduction affair. However, debkafile‘s intelligence sources are certain that the last word has not been said on that deeply mysterious and tragic affair.

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