(JTA) — Russia said it will return to Israel a tank that Syrian forces captured in 1982 during a battle that ended with 20 Israeli soldiers dead and three missing in action.
Russian President Vladimir Putin signed an order to return the tank from the Battle of Sultan Yacoub in the First Lebanon War, the office of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced Sunday. The Syrians delivered the tank to the Russian army and it is currently at the armored corps museum in Moscow, the report said.
Netanyahu reported the news to the families of MIAs Zvi Feldman, Yehuda Katz and Zechariah Baumel, whose fate remains unknown.
An Israeli army delegation is in Moscow preparing the transfer along with the Russian army.
“There has been nothing to remember the boys by and no grave to visit for 34 years now,” Netanyahu said. “The tank is the only evidence of the battle, and now it is coming back to Israel thanks to President Putin’s response to my request.”
The battle took place in Lebanon’s Valley of Tears as an Israeli tank formation found itself surrounded by a larger Syrian force. The force was extracted with heavy artillery. Along with the Israeli soldiers killed, 30 were wounded.