Israel announced today that the remains of a soldier missing since the 1982 Lebanon war had been returned to the country, bringing to a close a highly sensitive case for Israelis.
Sergeant First Class Zachary Baumel had been missing since what is known as the Battle of Sultan Yacoub, said Israeli military spokesman Jonathan Conricus.
Israel’s military declined to provide details on how the remains were retrieved, including where they were found.
Baumel was born in the United States, but immigrated to Israel, Conricus called the recovery a “special and moving moment.”
“His body is in Israel. The body has been identified,” he said.
Israeli soldiers fought with the Syrian Army in the battle in June 1982 in the Lebanese village of Sultan Yacoub, near the Syrian border.
Baumel and two other soldiers have been listed as missing and presumed killed since.
His body has been in Israel “for a few days,” delivered on an El Al plane, Conricus said.
“Over the years the (military) has undertaken significant intelligence and operational efforts in order to find the locations and to bring back the remains of those missing in action,” he said.
“Over the last year there were significant developments and the opportunity arose to locate the body.”