Russia to return Israeli tank captured by Syria in 1982

(JTA) – Russia said it will return to Israel a tank that Syrian forces captured in 1982 in a traumatic battle for the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) that ended with 20 dead and three MIAs.

Russian President Vladimir Putin signed an order to return to Israel the tank from the 1982 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 armoured corps museum in Moscow, the report said.

Netanyahu told of the news to the families of MIAs Zvi Feldman, Yehuda Katz and Zechariah Baumel.

An IDF Armored Corps delegation is currently in Moscow and – along with Russian army personnel – is preparing the transfer.

“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 but 20 Israelis died in the fighting and 30 were wounded.

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