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German Intelligence Official: New Information on Ron Arad

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A German intelligence official involved in efforts to learn of the fate of missing Israeli soldiers said this week that he had new information about captured Israeli navigator Ron Arad.

But Bernd Schmidbauer, who was in Israel for the inauguration of an international center to combat terror, would not elaborate, saying that the matter was still being discussed.

Arad bailed out from his fighter plane over Lebanon in 1986 and was believed to have been held by pro-Iranian troops in Lebanon. The last time any message was received that he was alive was in October 1987.

Israeli officials have repeatedly maintained that Iran is holding him.

In July, the bodies of Israeli MIAs Yosef Fink and Rachamim Alsheikh, killed in Lebanon in 1986, were returned to Israel as part of a prisoner and body exchange with Hezbollah that had been mediated by Schmidbauer.

Schmidbauer also met this week with Yona Baumel, whose son Zechariah Baumel disappeared June 11, 1982, in the battle of Sultan Yakoub at the beginning of Operation Peace for Galilee.

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