The Born to Freedom foundation said one of the Israeli soldiers who went missing in the battle of Sultan Yakoub, Lebanon in 1982 was "definitely killed."
During a press conference on Monday, the organization, which tries to help locate Israeli MIAs, also criticized Defense Minister Ehud Barak for ordering the establishment of a committee to examine its funding.
The organization's representatives told reporters that according to new information it had obtained, one of the three Israeli soldiers who went missing in Sultan Yakoub - Zachary Baumel, Zvi Feldman and Yehuda Katz – was killed and transported to Syria on an Israeli tank.
The organization recently obtained a photo of a tank which was apparently used to transport the MIAs to Syria. In the photo, the body of a soldier can also be seen, although his hands cover his face. According to Born to Freedom, the photo proves the Israeli soldiers were taken to Syria.
IDF tank in Damascus, body on the left (photo courtesy of Born to Freedom)
An official who served as the British military attaché to Syria in 1982 told the organization he saw an Israeli tank on Damascus' streets the day after the battle of Sultan Yakoub with the body of an Israeli soldier on it. The tank was driven by another Israel soldier, he said, adding that the tank was transferred to Russia shortly thereafter.
The British ambassador to Damascus at the time said documents which can be found in the British National Archives may shed light on the affair. The UK has refused to reveal the documents so as not to harm its relations with Syria, but Born to Freedom's request to examine them has been granted.
The photo was sent to the organization with the help of a British citizen who is voluntarily helping Zachary Baumel's mother, Miriam. Experts who examined the photo determined that the soldier seen on the tank is in fact dead.
Born to Freedom Director Maj.-Gen. (res.) Eyal Ben Reuven said, "(Former Prime Minister) Ariel Sharon authorized the establishment of our organization, and any change in its status must be decided on by the prime minister."
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