A documentary released yesterday shows how three Israel Defense Forces soldiers were kidnapped by Hizballah guerillas on the Lebanese border in 2000, and shows striking similarity to the recent kidnapping of two Israeli soldiers Eldad Regev and Ehud Goldwasser, which triggered the latest war in Lebanon.
The 2000 kidnapping led to a deal in 2004 involving a massive prisoner release by Israel in return for the bodies of the three soldiers and Israeli businessman Elhanan Tennenbaum, also kidnapped by Hizballah in 2000.
The movie, titled “The Kidnapped,” shows footage shot by Hizballah of the incident including the ambush of the Israeli army patrol vehicle and the whisking of the soldiers into a Land Rover. It is unclear from the film, however, if the soldiers Adi Avitan, Benny Abraham, and Omar Suade were alive when taken.
The footage, never seen before in public, shed new light on the incident and reveals several contradictions to the army investigation conducted after the incident. These contradictions include the length of the incident (one minute according to the army compared to three and a half minutes according to the film), the use of United Nations markings by the kidnappers (none were seen in the film), and return fire by the army, which was also absent during the entire incident.
From the film, it is apparent that many of the same tactics used by Hizballah in 2000 were repeated in the kidnapping of the two soldiers in July. Again, the terrorists used a remote area not under Israeli observation, blasted through the fence using suppressive fire and kidnapped the soldiers deep into Lebanese territory. In both cases, there were no Israeli forces nearby and the army was slow to react to the kidnapping.
The second part of the film, to be aired tonight in Israel and in Lebanon, shows the first pictures in years of Israel Air Force Airman Ron Arad whose plane crashed in Lebanon in 1986. He has been in captivity ever since, and his location – or whether he is alive – is still unknown. It is believed that after the initial years in Lebanon, and after Israel failed to deal for his release, Arad was transferred to the possession of Iran.