Israel releases 2 terrorists as a goodwill gesture for remains of MIA soldier Zachary Baumel
Israel has released two terrorists as a “diplomatic goodwill gesture”, after the remains of Israeli soldier Zachary Baumel, who was missing since 1982, were recovered by Russian special forces in Syria and returned to his family in Israel.
The body of Brooklyn-born Sgt. Zachary Baumel was repatriated to Israel in April 2019, aboard an El Al flight via an unnamed third country in an operation by Israeli intelligence agencies.
Baumel was one of six soldiers who went missing in Lebanon on June 11, 1982, at the beginning of the First Lebanon War, fighting against Syrian forces. Two soldiers were taken captive in that battle, and the body of a third missing soldier was returned in 1984 and 1985. The whereabouts of two others, Zvi Feldman and Yehuda Katz, are still unknown.
Israel has announced the release of the two terrorists from the Druze village of Majdal Shams in northern Israel, as part of a swap deal brokered by Russia.
Sidqi al-Maqt, 53, was jailed for 11 years in 2015 for treason and espionage, support for terrorism and contact with a terror group.
He was arrested in 2015 for passing pictures and written reports of IDF positions to Syrian intelligence officials.
He had already spent 27 years in Israeli prisons for spying and had been released in 2012 prior to his latest arrest.
Amal Abu Salah, 26, also a resident of Majdal Shams, was jailed in 2015 for taking part in a deadly mob attack on an ambulance and murdering a wounded Syrian national who was being transported to an Israeli hospital for life-saving treatment.
PM Netanyahu confirmed the release, describing it as a “political gesture of goodwill, following the return of the late Zachary Baumel’s body from Syria to Israel.”