Last updated: 5 October, 2011

Lebanese Minister: Israelis captured by Hezbollah killed in 2006 war

Two Israeli soldiers whose capture by Hezbollah sparked a 2006 war and whose remains were returned to the Jewish state two years later were killed in an Israeli raid on Lebanon, a minister revealed Wednesday.

In excerpts of his memoirs of the July 2006 war, Lebanese Health Minister Ali Hassan Khalil — a member of the Hezbollah-allied Shiite Amal movement — said an Israeli air strike that month had killed soldiers Ehud Goldwasser and Eldad Regev.

Khalil quotes a top aide to Hezbollah chief Hassan Nasrallah as saying: “It’s ironic … that Israel should kill the two soldiers it launched a war over” in the excerpts, published by Lebanese daily As-Safir.

Several Hezbollah officials contacted by AFP declined to either confirm or deny the news.

The Shiite militant Hezbollah captured Goldwasser and Regev in a July 12 2006 cross-border raid, sparking a 34-day offensive by Israel that killed more than 1,200 Lebanese, mostly civilians, and 160 Israelis, mostly soldiers.

In a comprehensive swap, Hezbollah transferred the bodies of the two soldiers to Israel on July 15, 2008 in exchange for five Lebanese fighters held by Israel along with the bodies of 199 Lebanese and Palestinian militants.

Prior to Khalil’s statements, it had been widely believed that Goldwasser and Regev were killed during their abduction.