Israel on Wednesday firmly rejected a Lebanese minister’s assertion that two Israeli soldiers, whose capture by Hezbollah sparked a 2006 war, died in an Israeli raid on Lebanon.
“The remarks made by the representative of the Hezbollah, a recognised terror organisation, are blatant fabrications and part of a psychological warfare attempt,” the Israeli military said in a statement.
“Hezbollah is responsible for the kidnapping of the IDF soldiers and, as such, is responsible for the tragic results leading to their deaths,” it said, referring to the Israel Defence Forces.
In excerpts of his memoirs of the 2006 war, Lebanese Health Minister Ali Hassan Khalil — a member of the Hezbollah-allied Shiite Amal movement — said an Israeli air strike had killed Ehud Goldwasser and Eldad Regev.
Khalil quoted 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.
The Shiite militia captured the two soldiers in a July 12 cross-border raid, sparking a 34-day offensive by Israel that killed more than 1,200 people in Lebanon, most of them civilians, and 160 Israelis, mostly soldiers.
As part of a swap deal, Hezbollah transferred their bodies 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.