Report: Mossad helped to release Betancourt

Catalan paper says Israeli, French and US secret services all participated in rescue operation.

Betancourt 224.88 (photo credit: AP)
Betancourt 224.88
(photo credit: AP)
The Mossad secret service was involved in the operation to free hostage Ingrid Betancourt from Colombian rebels, AFP quoted a Spanish newspaper as reporting on Sunday. According to the report, American and French secret services were also involved. "Mossad, the US, and French intelligence services worked for more than a year with the Colombian authorities to develop the plan," the story run by Vanguardia claimed, citing an Israeli secret service source. The Jerusalem Post could not corroborate Vanguardia's report. Colombian armed forces freed Franco-Colombian politician Betancourt, three US nationals and 11 Colombian soldiers from the jungle on July 2, where they were being held by the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC). While Betancourt's statements to the media immediately after her release acknowledged Israel's "experience" in similar situations, she did not unequivocally admit that Israel was involved in her release. Israel has never officially confirmed as much. According to Vanguardia, Israel, France and the US participated in the operation for different reasons: France because of Betancourt's half-French nationality, the US because of the three Americans in the group and Israel in order to maintain good bilateral relations with Colombia and the US. Vanguardia's Tel Aviv correspondent said the Mossad operation consisted of two agents unknown to each other separately infiltrating FARC. The pair managed to penetrate the Marxist guerrilla group so effectively that they ultimately controlled what FARC did or didn't know, the Catalan newspaper said. The Israeli and US secret services used unmanned spy drones to locate the camp where the hostage were held, the Vanguardia said.