regev, goldwasser coffins.
(photo credit: IDF)
The Prime Minister's Office and the IDF on Wednesday denied Lebanese statements that IDF soldiers Ehud Goldwasser and Eldad Regev were killed by an Israeli bombardment after they were captured by Hezbollah in 2006.
"These claims are baseless as the two soldiers were killed by Hezbollah during the attack on their IDF patrol on July 12, 2006," Prime Minister's Office spokesman Ofir Gendelman said in a Twitter post.
Goldwasser, Regev to be laid to rest after 2 uncertain years
Memorial candles lit for Regev, Goldwasser
The IDF dismissed the statements
as "blatant fabrications" and psychological warfare.
"The 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," the IDF said in a statement.
A former aide to Ehud Olmert, prime minister at the time of the 2006 abduction and war, also responded to the claims deeming them as "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 said.
"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."
A Lebanese minister had said on
Wednesday that two IDF soldiers whose capture by Hezbollah in 2006 sparked the Second
Lebanon War and whose bodies were returned to Israel two years later
were killed by Israeli bombardment.
Hezbollah handed over the bodies of Ehud Goldwasser
and Eldad Regev in a prisoner exchange but never said how they died.
Israeli officials said they were badly wounded when they were captured
by the Shi'ite terrorist group in a cross-border raid.
Lebanese Health Minister Ali Hassan Khalil, publishing his memoirs of the 2006 war in Lebanon's al-Safir
newspaper, quoted a Hezbollah official as saying the two soldiers were killed by Israeli bombing.
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 half-way through the
He 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...led to this."
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," the minister quoted Hussein al-Khalil as saying.
The bodies of the two IDF 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
longest-serving prisoner and whom Israelis revile for his part in a 1979
Palestinian terrorist attack.The exchange had been a difficult decision for the government and
President Shmon Peres had authorized Kuntar's release with a heavy heart and the
stipulation that he would neither forgive nor forget the terrorist's
brutal killings, or the fact that he had never expressed remorse. Kuntar had crushed the skull of four-year-old Einat HarTan and shot her father in cold blood.
The event was notorious for scenes of weeping in Israel and the hero's welcome Kuntar received in Lebanon.
Yaakov Katz and Tovah Lazaroff contributed to this report