30 years after Israeli navigator Lt.-Col. Ron Arad ejected from his Mirage plane over Lebanon, Channel 2 reported on Monday that two new intelligence reports have been compiled in an attempt to uncover the enduring mystery of his fate.
Having been officially listed as missing in action since the incident 1986, few if any had realistic hopes that the airman was still alive. The reports confirmed the fears, indicating that Arad had indeed died in captivity, and earlier than previously estimated by the authorities.
Both of the reports, compiled separately by the IDF’s Military Intelligence Directorate (AMAN) and Mossad, included a comprehensive examination of new intelligence, in addition to previously obtained information throughout the years. Arad’s family were kept informed throughout the process.
Arad and his pilot evacuated their plane due to a technical malfunction during a mission to hit terror targets in the Lebanese city of Sidon as part of the First Lebanon War. The pilot, Yishai Aviram, was found and rescued by the IAF by clinging onto the outside of a helicopter as he was extracted under fire; Arad was taken prisoner by Shia militant group Amal.
During his imprisonment, three letters and one picture were sent to Israel. However, no contact has been made since 1987, when the Red Cross was last given access to Arad.