The Mossad spy agency allegedly took a DNA sample from a corpse in the northern Lebanese village of Nabi Chit to see if it was the remains of long-lost Israeli airman Ron Arad, Arabic-language media house Al Arabiya reported on Tuesday.
In 2008, Israel received a Hezbollah report regarding Arad in which the Lebanese terrorist group claimed that the pilot was killed in 1988 when he tried to escape his captors. The organization ruled out the possibility he was transferred to Iran.
However, a classified intelligence report published in 2009 claimed that Arad was abducted by the Quds Force — the extraterritorial operations arm of Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps — from the Nabi Chit home in which he was being held captive.
Al Arabiya also reported that the Mossad kidnapped an Iranian general from Syria to interrogate him about Arad’s fate following a similar report by the London-based Rai al-Youm paper earlier on Tuesday.
According to the report, the Israeli spy agency transferred the general to an African country where he was interrogated and later released. The news site did not specify whether the general was on active duty but asserted the incident may be linked to an alleged hit attempt on Israeli businesspeople in Cyprus which Israel attributed to Tehran.
However, it should be noted that the London-based outlet defines Israel as "our enemy" in its About Us tab and the credibility of its reporting about Iran has been questionable.
Prime Minister Naftali Bennett revealed details about the mission in his address to Knesset at the outset of the Israeli parliament's winter session Monday. Mossad launched an operation in September to learn about the fate and whereabouts of Israeli Air Force weapon systems officer Ron Arad, who crashed over Lebanon in October 1986 and was declared missing ever since.
"It was a complex, large-scale and daring operation. That's all there is to say right now. We made another effort on the way to understanding what happened to Ron," Bennett said. Security sources later said that the mission has failed.
Several hours later, the Prime Minister's Office released a statement saying the operation was successful, contradicting previous reports.