Israel Recovers Body of Missing US-born Soldier

By Reuters
April 3, 2019US News
Israel Recovers Body of Missing US-born Soldier
U.S. Army soldiers salute. (John Moore/Getty Images)

JERUSALEM—Israel has recovered the body of a U.S.-born Israeli soldier missing since a 1982 tank battle against Syrian forces in a case vexing the nation ever since, the military said on Wednesday, April 3.

Zachary Baumel, who immigrated to Israel with his parents from New York in 1970, was 21 when he fought in Israel’s invasion of Lebanon and was declared missing in action along with two other soldiers in the Battle of Sultan Yacoub.

Sgt. 1st Class Zachary Baumel Returned Home

After 37 years, Sgt. 1st Class Zachary Baumel has returned home to Israel.

Posted by Israel Defense Forces on Wednesday, April 3, 2019

“The body has now been in Israel for a few days,” military spokesman Jonathan Conricus told journalists, saying it was identified by DNA and flown in by El Al Israel Airlines.

The spokesman declined to say how or where the body of Baumel, a tank crewman and sergeant, was recovered. In 2018, Russia said its troops in Syria had been trying to locate the remains of Israeli soldiers killed in previous conflicts.

Two other Israeli tank crew members are still listed by the military as missing in action from the June 10-11, 1982 confrontation.

In 2016, in a ceremony attended by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Russia returned an Israeli tank captured by Syria at Sultan Yacoub and transferred to a Russian museum.

At the time, Netanyahu said Israel “will not rest” until it can bring the remains of Baumel and the two others home for burial.

Posted by Israel in the USA on Wednesday, April 3, 2019

Israel hoped forensic tests might determine if Baumel was killed outright or died under other circumstances, Conricus said.

Over the years, there had been unverified reports that Baumel and the other soldiers missing at Sultan Yacoub might have survived the fighting and been captured.

Baumel’s father, Yona, who died in 2009, led an international campaign to discover whether his son might still be alive.

Fallen Soldiers

The Pentagon has identified two soldiers killed on March 22, in Kunduz Province in Afghanistan as a result of what it said were wounds sustained while engaged in combat.

The two soldiers were identified as Sgt. 1st Class Will Lindsay, 33, of Cortez, Colorado, and Spc. Joseph Collette of Lancaster, Ohio, 29.

This marks the third and fourth US military deaths in Afghanistan in 2019 and comes as the Trump administration has sought to negotiate with the Taliban to help bring the conflict to an end.

SFC Will Lindsay in Iraq. Will spent six years of his Special Forces career as a senior weapons sergeant.

Posted by 10th Special Forces Group – Airborne on Saturday, March 23, 2019

SPC Joseph "Joey" Collette.

Posted by 10th Special Forces Group – Airborne on Saturday, March 23, 2019

Last year on Nov. 27, a roadside bomb killed three American soldiers in eastern Afghanistan, the attack appeared to be the deadliest attack on U.S. forces in Afghanistan in the last 17 months.

The three service members were killed by an improvised explosive device that detonated near Ghazni city, NATO’s Resolute Support mission said in a press release.

The attack also left three other soldiers wounded in addition to an American contractor. They were evacuated and are receiving medical care.

The bomb detonation killings came just days after a U.S. service member was shot to death on Nov. 24. The NATO Resolute Support mission said on Nov. 27 that he was “likely accidentally shot by our Afghan partner force” while conducting an operation targeting al Qaeda militants in Nimroz province.

Maj. Brent Taylor of Utah
Maj. Brent Taylor of the Utah National Guard. Taylor, former mayor of North Ogden, died in Afghanistan, on Nov. 3, 2018. (Utah National Guard/AP)

The deaths also came several weeks after a Utah mayor and National Guard member was killed by one of the Afghan trainees he was training. Brent Taylor’s mission was to help train and build the capacity of the Afghan national army.

NTD News reporter Zachary Stieber and The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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