Ron Arad operation: Mossad extracted DNA from body in Lebanon - report

An Iranian general was kidnapped and interrogated for information on Ron Arad in Syria, and DNA was tested from Lebanon in operations to locate the long-missing soldier.

Hezbollah fighters put Lebanese and Hezbollah flags at Juroud Arsal, Syria-Lebanon border (photo credit: REUTERS)
Hezbollah fighters put Lebanese and Hezbollah flags at Juroud Arsal, Syria-Lebanon border
(photo credit: REUTERS)

The Mossad carried out an operation to extract DNA from a body buried in Nabi Sheet village in Lebanon in September, Al Arabiya reported.

DNA was reportedly taken from the body to determine whether it was from Israel Air Force navigator Ron Arad, the report said.

A second concurrent operation in Syria involved the kidnapping and interrogation of a retired Iranian general to glean what information he might have regarding the whereabouts of the long-missing soldier. He was later released.

Additionally, there was an indication that Iran might have responded to this development by trying to assassinate an Israeli businessman in Cyprus.

ron arad (credit: Archives)ron arad (credit: Archives)

Israel lost track of Arad’s location two years after his capture. The Mossad and IDF determined he was no longer alive.

The Mossad abducted an Iranian general in Syria during an operation last month to uncover new information about Arad, the London-based Arabic newspaper Rai al-Youm reported.

The general was taken to an African country, interrogated by Israel and then released, the report said.

The Iranians likely followed the operation after it occurred and discovered where and how it was managed, it said.

The attempted Iranian operation in Cyprus that was supposed to target Israelis but had been thwarted last week might have been launched in retaliation for the Mossad operation, the report said.

Prime Minister Naftali Bennett revealed the operation in a speech to the Knesset plenum on Monday. Despite the dramatic announcement, he did not give any further information about the fate of Arad, who has long been presumed dead.

Since the announcement, Bennett’s office has not offered any more context or explanation for the timing of his statement.

Arad was captured on October 16, 1986, after a bomb his plane dropped caused damage to the aircraft, forcing him and the plane’s pilot to bail out. The pilot was saved, but Arad was taken by the Lebanese Shi’ite group Amal and later transferred to Iranian forces.

Arad sent three letters from captivity, and two photos of him were released. Israel lost track of Arad in 1988.

There have been several Israeli operations to get more information about his fate, including the capture of Hezbollah members and an offer of a $10 million reward. A joint report by the Mossad and the IDF determined in 2016 that Arad had likely died in 1988.