Report: Israel Ordered Syrian Rebels to Search Graves for Missing IDF Soldiers

Talal Naji, the assistant secretary-general of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine –General Command , reads the statement of the Damascus-based radical Palestinian factions during a festival held Friday, Jan. 4, 2008 at al-Haifaa Sports Stadium in Damascus to mark the 20th anniversary of Hamas' foundation. Naji urged …
AP/Bassem Tellawi

Syrian anti-government rebels have been accused of digging up graves in a  refugee camp cemetery near the capital Damascus while searching for the remains of three Israeli soldiers missing since the early-1980s.

Talal Naji (pictured), assistant secretary general of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), made the untested assertion that the rebels worked at Israel’s behest during an interview Saturday with Hezbollah’s al-Mayadeen news network. The PFLP is allied with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

Naji claimed that after al-Assad’s forces took over the Yarmouk Palestinian refugee camp from rebels associated with Jabhat al-Nusra and Islamic State, it was discovered that the rebels had dug out old graves with the intent of exhuming the bodies of three deceased Israeli soldiers.

Zachary Baumel, Yehuda Katz and Zvi Feldman went missing during the 1982 battle of Sultan Yacoub and are presumed dead.

This is not the first time that Assad’s supporters have accused Syrian rebels of receiving covert support from Israel in an attempt to deter international supporters.

Pictures of Syrian rebels carrying medical supplies with Hebrew letters on them have been published in the past and last year the Wall Street Journal published an interview with Syrian rebels who claimed ties with Israel.

The Israeli authorities have provided significant amounts of cash, food, fuel and medical supplies to Sunni rebels fighting against the al-Assad government, the Wall Street Journal story reported, citing “half a dozen rebels and three people familiar with Israel’s thinking.”

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