(photo credit: Courtesy the Halabi family )
Over seven years after he vanished without a trace, a Daliat al-Carmel resident
discovered the remains of missing Druse soldier Majdi Halabi two weeks ago in a
forest near Usfiya, the IDF confirmed Thursday. Halabi went missing in May
IDF Manpower Directorate head Maj.-Gen. Orna Barbivai said that
Halabi’s family had been notified.
She added that the body had been
positively identified using DNA.
Police said they were continuing their
investigation into the circumstances of his death.
The IDF has said it
will continue to do everything in its power, joining arms with all security
agencies, to return all missing soldiers to their families. The IDF and Chief of
General Staff Lt.-Gen. Benny Gantz expressed their sincerest condolences to the
Halabi disappeared while traveling from his home to his
base in Tirat Carmel south of Haifa.
He was last seen at a bus station in
his hometown of Daliat al-Carmel, located on the slopes of the Mount Carmel and
southeast of Haifa. He was formally declared missing in action on June 6, 2005.
The funeral was set for Friday morning.
Daliat al-Carmel resident
attorney Farah Halabi, a distant relative of Majdi Halabi and a former spokesman
for the village and nearby Usfiya, said locals greeted the news on Thursday with
“On the one hand it’s a very bitter feeling, that a son
has been found dead.
On the other hand, there is some relief in knowing
that you can put an end to the uncertainty the family has been going through the past
seven years,” he said.
Halabi said that over the years any time a body
was found in the North, Majdi’s parents would be contacted and wait with bated
breath to find out if their son had been found – only to be told that the
remains were not a match, and return to hoping that he would come home again
alive and well.
Farah said he had spoken to Majdi’s mother earlier in the
day and she told him how after Majdi’s brother Adham was killed in a car crash
last October, she hoped “maybe now Majdi would come home and there would be some
sort of relief for the family.”
Farah added that the Halabi family, which
numbers in the thousands, “just takes one hit after another.”
Minister Ehud Barak called Nazmi Halabi, the soldier’s father, and expressed his
“We all, in the IDF and the security community, share the
deep grief upon learning of the death of your son,” he said. “I sympathize with
your pain and send a warm embrace to the entire family.”
chairwoman Shelly Yacimovich also sent her condolences to the family, saying:
“Our hearts are with the Halabi family; after seven years of long agony, their
hopes to find their son alive vanished.”
She added: “In these moments we
must appreciate the dignity and determination of the Halabi family in their
fight to try and locate their son.”