Israel’s intelligence agency, Mossad, abducted an army general from Syria last month in an operation to locate a missing Israeli Air Force navigator, a report has claimed.
According to the London-based Arabic newspaper Rai al-Youm, the general—who has not been named but is said to be Iranian—was abducted by Israeli forces and then taken to an African country, where he was interrogated and then released.
The alleged abduction and interrogation was conducted in order to acquire more information regarding the fate and whereabouts of the Israeli navigator, Ron Arad, who was captured by the Lebanese Shia group, Amal, on 16 October 1986 after bailing out of a plane damaged by a bomb.
While the pilot of the plane was saved, Arad was taken into captivity and—after three letters and two photos from him were sent—Israel lost track of him, two years later. Despite Israel officially presuming him to be dead, Prime Minister, Naftali Bennett, revealed last month’s “complex, wide-scale and daring” operation to locate him in a speech to the Knesset yesterday.
The report of the general’s abduction is not the first such attempt to find Arad, but it comes after numerous members of the Lebanese Shia group, Hezbollah, were captured over the years in similar attempts for information. A $10 million reward was also offered by Tel Aviv for the discovery of Arad.
In 2014, there were hopes that the navigator would be found after Israel and Iran made a deal to exchange information on missing personnel from both sides, but that attempt has also proven unsuccessful.