Israel Complains to U.N. Body on Syria’s Kidnapping of Officials

The Government of Israel has lodged a formal complaint with the Israel-Syrian Mixed Armistice Commission against the kidnapping yesterday morning of an Israeli liaison officer together with two United Nations observers from an observation post on Israel territory north of Lake Huleh. UN circles here hinted off the record that they would like to see the matter closed since the trio were returned unharmed late yesterday.

According to Israel Foreign Ministry sources, the Syrians do not dispute that the abduction occurred within Israel territory. The Ministry understands that the Syrians have not made any explanation of the incident, even to UN truce headquarters.

Meanwhile, the two UN officers and the Israeli said they had been halted at gunpoint by a Syrian army officer who forced them into a jeep which took them to Damascus. The three officers said the incident occurred during routine observation checks at Tel Abu Khanazir near Kfar Szold in the upper Galilee, one of four UN observation posts along the Israel-Syrian border.

They said they had noticed some “suspicious movements” within Israel territory and started to investigate. They were approached by the Syrian officer who pointed a gun at them, and “arrested” them. Blindfolded, they were driven to Damascus where they were questioned and then taken back to the Bnot Yaacov Bridge where they were released. The Tel Abu Khanasir UN post is opposite a partly demilitarized Syrian area and it is more accessible from Syrian territory than from Israel.

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