A French official said Israel
is convinced its two soldiers who were kidnapped by Hizbullah last year are dead, London-based al-Hayat newspaper reported on Thursday.
The report did not reveal any information on the official or his involvement in efforts to have the captives, Ehud Goldwasser and Eldad Regev,
"Israel is convinced that its two soldiers who were kidnapped by Hizbullah were killed and that the organization is manipulating the situation by saying it is preventing any visits," the official said.
The report gave no further details on the matter.
Since the kidnapping, which set off the Second Lebanon War,
there have been many reports in foreign press about the soldiers' conditions.
the Lebanese newspaper a-Nahar quoted high-ranking German officials in Berlin as saying they believed one of the soldiers was dead.
The report said the German government had begun to get seriously involved in negotiations for the soldiers' release and was in direct contact with the Christian general, Michel Aoun, who is currently in the midst of a presidential campaign in Lebanon.
The diplomats were trying to get information regarding the fate of the two soldiers, but Aoun, who is cooperating with Hizbullah
against the Siniora government, refused to comment on the issue.
Nonetheless, “security forces understood that one of the kidnapped soldiers is still alive, however, the other is dead,” the report said.
The French official discussed a number of topics regarding the Middle East, and commented on reports of the Israeli air strike on Syria
last month saying Israel "attacked North Korean nuclear facilities and this was confirmed by western intelligence sources".
According to the official, an Israeli intelligence delegation visited Paris three days after the attack and its members said they did not want to shake up Syrian President Bashar Assad's
regime "as long as he keeps up the good behavior".
He added that Israel "believes the downfall of the Syrian regime would lead to the rise of the Muslim Brotherhood and that the Israeli side feels the current President Assad is less credible than his late father Hafez Assad. Nonetheless, the Syrian regime in Lebanon for example is better than the Lebanese political echelon".