Body of Israeli soldier missing for 37 years found with help from Russian military

Body of Israeli soldier missing for 37 years found with help from Russian military

- The Russian military has helped to recover the body of Sergeant Zachary Baumel, an Israeli soldier

- The Israeli soldier went missing with five others on Friday, 11 June, 1982, in Lebanin’s Bekaa Valley

- While three soldiers have been found so far, the location of the other two, Yehuda Katz and Zvi Feldman, are still unknown

The Russian military has helped to recover the body of an Israeli soldier that went missing since the 1982 war in Leanon, President Vladimir Putin said.

The body of US-born tank commander Sergeant First Class Zachary Baumel was taken back to Israel a few days ago, BBC News reports.

Baumel was one of the three soldiers that are still declared as missing in action since the Battle of Sultan Yacoub.

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The Israeli military only said on Wednesday, April 3, that the sergeant’s body was returned through a third world country.

During a meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Moscow on Thursday, April 4, Putin, however, said that the Russian military in collaboration with Syria made returning the body possible.

He said: "Our soldiers together with Syrian partners established his resting place. We are very happy that they will be able to give him the necessary military honours at home."

Netanyahu also confirmed it that he had made a personal request to the Russian president for help on the repatriation of the body, as he also appreciated Putin for the help.

Russia is supporting forces loyal to Syria's government in the country's civil war.

The five Israeli soldiers went missing on Friday, 11 June, 1982, in Lebanin’s Bekaa Valley. However, many years after, only two of the captured soldiers were returned alive in prisoner exchanges with Syria and the allied Palestinian group, the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine-General Command.

On the other hand, the location of Sergeant Baumel and two other sergeants, Yehuda Katz and Zvi Feldman, remained unknown despite efforts by Israeli authorities to locate them.

"Today, we are lifting the uncertainty and closing a circle," Netanyahu said in a televised statement on Wednesday, April 3.

Israeli Defense Force (IDF) chief of staff Lieutenant General Aviv Kochavi also said: "On the shoulders of IDF commanders, whom I lead, there is a great obligation to take care of every soldier who joins the IDF and swears allegiance to Israel.

"This was a multi-year effort...during which various studies and operations were carried out to locate the missing persons. The culmination of the effort was a series of operations led by the intelligence branch, which led to the identification and return of Sgt Baumel."

IDF spokesman Lieutenant Colonel Jonathan Conricus said forensic tests might be able to establish whether Sgt Baumel had died in battle or under other circumstances.

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Meanwhile, Legit.ng previously reported that Nigerian Army on Wednesday, April 3, attributed the worsening insecurity in the country to poor funding of the Army and other security agencies.

Chief of Army Staff, Lt. General Tukur Buratai, made this known Abuja during the 2019 budget defence engagement with the house committee on Army.

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