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3 nations honor missing Israeli airman

JERUSALEM, May 20 (JTA) — Parliamentarians from Israel, Britain and Germany jointly marked captured Israeli air navigator Ron Arad’s 39th birthday this week and issued an appeal for his release. Members of Arad’s family also took part in Tuesday’s special gathering, which linked the participants through a satellite hook-up, and was simultaneously broadcast on the Internet. Tuesday marked Arad’s 3,869th day in captivity. His plane was shot down over Lebanon in 1986. Israel has held Iran responsible for his fate, though Tehran has denied having any knowledge of Arad’s whereabouts. The deputy secretary of the pro-Iranian Hezbollah, Sheik Naim Kassam, said in an interview with a Lebanese newspaper that the fundamentalist group never held Arad, and, if it had, it would have tried to arrange a prisoner swap for him.