Terrorists Capture Flier Ron Arad

October 16, 1986
Ron Arad, the 28-year-old navigator of an Israeli F-4 Phantom II, is captured by the Shia terrorist group Amal after parachuting out of his burning aircraft over Lebanon.

Amal demands $3 million and the release of 200 Lebanese and 450 Palestinians in return for Arad, and the negotiations fall apart. Mustafa Dirani, who heads the Believing Resistance Movement, instead sells the Israeli to the Iranians for $300,000 in December 1987.

The Israeli public continued to called for his return over the decades, keeping hope that he was still alive. Reports over the years contradicted each other. He was rumored to have been executed in 1992, then was reported as still alive in 1994. In 2006, Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah said he believed Arad was dead, while in a 2004 IDF report concluded that he died in the 1990s following denial of medical treatment. In 2008, a German negotiator relayed that Hezbollah said Arad had been killed while trying to escape in 1988, which is when 2016 reports indicate that he was tortured to death. Widely believed to be dead, he is still officially missing in action.

Without a returned body and unconfirmed details, public concern never wanes. In 2021, it is reported that a Mossad operation saw male and female agents involved in kidnapping an Iranian general from Syria and taking him to an unnamed Africa country for interrogation before releasing him. Prime Minister Bennett does not share further information about Arad’s fate.