Ehud Olmert rejected a Hezbollah report on missing Israeli airman Ron Arad as “absolutely unsatisfactory.”
Israel’s Cabinet, however, on Monday ratified a planned prisoner exchange with Hezbollah. The swap required that Hezbollah file a report on what the Lebanese militia describes as its failed efforts to locate Arad, an Air Force navigator who disappeared into captivity after he bailed out over Lebanon in 1986.
Olmert met U.N. Secretary-General Ban ki-Moon in Paris on Monday to discuss this week’s prisoner exchange with Hezbollah, which was mediated by a U.N.-appointed German intelligence chief. An aide quoted the Israeli prime minister as telling Ban that the 80-page report is “absolutely unsatisfactory.”
The Cabinet by a vote of 22-3 ratified the final deal to bring home Ehud Goldwasser and Eldad Regev, soldiers held by the Iranian-backed Hezbollah since 2006.
Under the deal, Israel on Wednesday morning will release Samir Kuntar, a jailed Lebanese terrorist who had been dubbed a “bargaining chip” for Arad’s return.
A report published Monday in the Lebanese daily Al-Akhbar said that one of the soldiers was killed during the ambush. The unnamed source did not know the condition of the second.