Israel considers soldiers kidnapped in Lebanon dead

Israel Materials 16 February 2008 15:31 (UTC +04:00)

(dpa) - Israel considers dead two Israeli soldiers kidnapped by the Lebanese Hezbollah militia, German political magazine Der Spiegel reported on Saturday.

According to the magazine, Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert was planning to publicly declare the two reservists dead.

Government spokesman Mark Regev declined to comment on the issue.

Israeli newspapers have been publishing similar information over the past months.

Ehud Goldwasser and Eldad Regev were kidnapped by the Hezbollah on July 12, 2006 ahead of Israel's war with Lebanon.

Olmert had declared the soldiers' return the aim of the summer 2006 war. However, there has not been a sign of life from them so far.

According to Der Spiegel, Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah has refused in secret negotiations to give information on the soldiers as long as Israel refused to release Lebanese terrorist Samir Kuntar from prison.

Kuntar has been serving a prison sentence for a 1979 attack killing four Israelis.