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Soldier's Remains Found in Golan Heights

Israeli shepherd finds the remains of a man in uniform. Tests to be conducted to determine identity.
By Elad Benari
First Publish: 12/29/2011, 3:15 AM

Highway in Golan Heights
Highway in Golan Heights
Flash 90

An Israeli shepherd who was working in the Golan Heights found on Wednesday the remains of a man in uniform. Army Radio reported that the shepherd called in the army and the police upon finding the remains.

According to the report, the remains were located inside an old Syrian bunker in the heart of a mine field.

Israel hopes that the remains will turn out to belong to one of the missing IDF soldiers, Majdi Halabi or Guy Hever, the report said. However, the remains may very well be those of a Syrian soldier.

Army Radio said that that the remains will be extracted on Thursday from the bunker and will be taken for tests to determine to whom they belong.

Hever was last seen on August 17, 1997, at the base in the Golan Heights where he served. He then disappeared and there has been no information about his whereabouts.

Over the years it was suggested that Hever was kidnapped to Syria and is held there alive ever since. A German citizen who was arrested and questioned by Syrian intelligence recently claimed that Hever was the translator during the interrogation.

Halabi, of Dalyat el-Carmel in the Carmel mountains, a member of the Druze community, went missing in 2005 while making his way back to base. He was 19 years old at the time.

The family has conducted its own searches, in addition to the searches conducted by the IDF and police. Posters with his picture can be seen on the roads leading to the Druze town.

In 2007, the Born to Freedom Foundation offered a $10 million reward for information on Majdi's location. In 2008 a prisoner claimed Majdi had been taken captive and was held in the Palestinian Authority-controlled city of Shechem; however, police strongly doubted the authenticity of the report, which was never verified.