regev, goldwasser coffins.
(photo credit: IDF)
A Hezbollah-linked Lebanese minister said Wednesday that two Israeli soldiers
seized in July 2006 were killed not by the terrorist group but by Israeli
bombardment during the Second Lebanon War that their capture
Hezbollah handed over the bodies of Ehud Goldwasser and Eldad
Regev in a prisoner exchange two years later but never said how they died.
Israeli officials have said they were badly wounded, one of them fatally, when
they were captured by the Shi’ite group in a cross-border raid.
Goldwasser, Regev to be laid to rest after 2 uncertain yearsMemorial candles lit for Regev, Goldwasser
Minister Ali Hassan Khalil, publishing his memories of the 34-day war in
Lebanon’s As-Safir newspaper, quoted a Hezbollah official as saying the two
Israelis were killed by Israeli bombing.
Khalil is a member of Amal, a
Shi’ite party allied to Hezbollah in the ruling March 8 Alliance.
is another subject which only a very few brothers know about, and which no one
other than us will know about later,” he quoted Hussein al-Khalil as saying on
August 3, 2006, roughly halfway through the conflict.
bombardment in recent days led to the death of the two Israeli
The Hezbollah official reportedly said the soldiers’ captors
had taken every precaution to avoid them being killed “but the expansion [of the
area] of the bombardment and the use of big rockets...
“It’s ironic – Israel kills the prisoners on whose behalf it
declared war. From our part, we will continue the battle of negotiations as if
nothing had happened,” he reportedly said.
The Israeli army dismissed
what it called “blatant fabrications” as psychological
“Hezbollah is responsible for the kidnapping of the IDF soldiers
in 2006 and, as such, is responsible for the tragic results leading to their
deaths,” it said in a statement.
A former aide to Ehud Olmert, prime
minister at the time of the 2006 abduction and war, said claims that Israel
killed its own soldiers was “utter nonsense.”
“The forensic details we
gathered at the site of the abductions made clear that Goldwasser and Regev were
seriously wounded on the spot, at least one of them fatally,” the aide
“This was confirmed by intelligence information that we
subsequently gathered, and by pathological examinations upon recovery of the
bodies, which Hezbollah had kept frozen. Their wounds corresponded to an ambush
on the ground, not an aerial bombing.”
The bodies of the two Israeli
soldiers were exchanged in July 2008 in a prisoner swap for five Lebanese
prisoners held by Israel.
Among the released captives was Samir Kuntar,
who had been Israel’s longestserving prisoner and whom Israelis revile for his
part in a 1979 Palestinian terror attack in Nahariya that killed four people –
three of them members of the same family and two of them young girls.
release of the Lebanese prisoners, said by Hezbollah to be the last held in
Israel, closed a file that had motivated repeated attempts by Shi’ite guerrillas
over the past quarter of a century to capture Israelis to use as bargaining