The Lebanese newspaper Al-Akhbar has reported that the former Defense and Operations Chief of Hezbollah Imad Mughniyeh, whose 2008 assassination has been attributed on Israel, led a unit that found the parachute and uniform of Ron Arad, the Israeli Air-Force navigator who disappeared after being imprisoned in Lebanon in 1986.
During the first year of Arad’s imprisonment two letters and one photo were sent to Israel. Representatives from the Red Cross were able to see Arad in 1987. Since then there has been no contact with Arad.
In a story marking the anniversary of Mughniyeh’s death on Tuesday, Al Akhbar reported that “Mughniyeh formed a special team whose role was to investigate the traces of Arad from 2004 to 2006” and that the team “succeeded in finding some of his belongings: like a parachute, his weapon and his uniform.” Mughniyeh then allegedly approached the Israeli government to negotiate the return of the items.
Hezbollah said in 2008 that Arad had died 20 years prior, a claim that was never confirmed. Mughniyeh was killed in 2008 during prisoner swap negotiations that ultimately led to the release of IDF soldiers Eldad Regev and Udi Goldwasser. The newspaper did not say whether Arad’s alleged items were ever returned to Israel.