JERUSALEM (Aug. 14)
One of the two Syrian pilots who landed their MIG-17 jet interceptors in Israel Monday has been identified as a member of a prominent Syrian family that has considerable influence in that country’s affairs. According to reliable sources here, 25-year-old Lt. Walid Adham is a younger brother of the former chief of Syrian intelligence services who held office during the period of Egyptian-Syrian unification as the United Arab Republic. The latter also served as a member of the Israel-Syrian Mixed Armistice Commission where he was said to have displayed more violently anti-Israel sentiments than the average Syrian officer.
An Israeli Army spokesman confirmed yesterday that the two pilots landed in Israel as a result of a navigational error. He said that interrogation of the men disclosed that they believed that the airstrip on which they landed was in Lebanese territory. The strip is about four miles south of the Lebanese border. Although there was no further official comment, it was said here that the pilots are regarded as prisoners of war. So far no requests have been received from any country for the return of the MIGs, authorities said.