Sunday, October 14, 2007

Captured Israeli Soldiers Transferred to Iran

Pan Arab daily Asharq Al Awsat reported today that the two Israeli soldiers captured by Hezbollah in 2006 have been transferred to Iran and could be freed in a German-brokered prisoner swap.

Asharq Al Awsat quoted officials in Ayatollah Khamenei’s office as saying that IRGC’s Quds Force has transferred the two Israeli soldiers from Lebanon to Iran.

“The operation to transfer the two Israeli soldiers to a country outside Lebanon and then to Iran was executed by a special unit belonging to the Quds Force,” the source told the paper.

The two soldiers, Ehud Goldwasser and Eldad Regev, were captured by Hezbollah in July last year, triggering Israel's large-scale offensive against the group in Lebanon during a 34-day war.

No explanations were given as how the IRGC’s Quds Force had the possession of the two Israeli soldiers. Asharq Al Awsat quoted the Iranian official as saying that IRGC Brig. Gen. Ghassem Suleimani, the commander of Quds Force, personally oversaw the transfer.

The unidentified Iranian official also claims that the soldiers are part of an exchange involving Germany's decision last week to free an agent of the Quds Force convicted and jailed for life in Germany for assassination in 1992 of Iranian Kurdish leaders. Kazem Darabi, the convicted killer, will be freed as early as December and will be sent back to Iran.

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