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Rabin: Israel Will Do All It Can to Gain Release of Downed Flyer

Defense Minister Yitzhak Rabin said Friday that Israel would do everything possible to gain the release of an Israel Air Force navigator who bailed out of his Phantom jet over south Lebanon on October 16.

The flyer, not publicly identified, is believed to be a prisoner of Amal, the Shiite Moslem militia in Lebanon. Amal leader Nabih Berri, who is Lebanon’s Minister of Justice, said last week that the Israeli was being held by Amal. He stated no conditions for his release.

The pilot of the Phantom also bailed out but was rescued by an Israel Air Force helicopter. Rabin received the helicopter crew at his office Friday. He said the rescue was an “honorable token” of the special quality, both human and professional, of the Air Force.