Syrian claims his father knew where master spy Eli Cohen is buried

After 53 years, is it possible the bones of the legendary spy will be discovered and brought home?

Israeli master spy Eli Cohen in Syria, wearing a watch recovered by the Mossad (photo credit: GOVERNMENT PRESS OFFICE)
Israeli master spy Eli Cohen in Syria, wearing a watch recovered by the Mossad
When world-famous master spy Eli Cohen, recently the subject of Netflix show The Spy starring Sacha Baron Cohen, was executed in Damascus in 1965 during the presidency of Amin al-Hafiz, his burial place was kept secret. Now Hafiz’s son, New Zealand-resident Khalid al-Hafidh, claims this family heritage may include hints about the last burial place of the Israeli spy. His asking price? One million USD, NZ-based news portal NewsHub reported on Sunday.
Hafidh had been in communication with New Zealand Security Intelligence Service (NZSIS) since 2017, and a text-exchange between him and an NZSIS agent seems to indicate the information was passed on to another agency – whom the text calls “our partners” – and then deemed unimportant as the other agency declined to follow it up or to pay the money Hafidh requested.
The NZSIS works with several spy-agencies around the world, meaning that the unnamed partner might have been the Mossad.
After being placed on indefinite hold, Hafidh turned to the inspector-general of intelligence and security – a position held until very recently by Justice Cheryl Gwyn – and was told that the NZSIS is obliged to take reasonable care when dealing with human intelligence sources, and it is questionable if it did so in his case.
This might mean that by passing on this possible lead to their unnamed partner, the NZSIS might have exposed Hafidh to some risks, as there is no doubt that Israeli commitment to bringing the remains of a man seen as a national hero back home is equally matched by the commitment of others, such as the Syrians, to deny Israel such an achievement.
New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and the Israeli Embassy in New Zealand declined to comment when asked to do so by NewsHub.
Eli Cohen was able to befriend many influential people in Syrian positions of power and one of them had been the then-president Hafiz. However, Hafiz passed away a decade ago, making it nearly impossible to determine if the claims made by his son are genuine. For now, it seems that mystery still hides the last resting place of the man who sacrificed his life to protect the Jewish state.