Eli Cohen
Eli CohenGPO - Israel National Photograph Collection

Russia on Wednesday denied reports that it had transferred the bones of spy Eli Cohen to Israel.

"We deny the claims made by several Israeli media outlets that Russian representatives allegedly took the remains of spy Eli Cohen, who was executed in Damascus, from Syria," the Russian Foreign Ministry said.

"The motives for disseminating this blatantly inaccurate information are not understandable. We call on the media to be cautious and professional when dealing with such sensitive issues. The responsibility for the negative consequences of this report lies with those who published it," said the statement.

Earlier this week, Syrian opposition websites reported that a Russian delegation had left Syrian territory with an Israeli coffin containing Cohen’s remains.

Cohen, an Egyptian-born Jew, worked as an undercover Israeli agent in Egypt and Syria before he was discovered and hanged in 1965. By the time of his discovery, Cohen had managed to climb the ranks of the Syrian Defense Ministry, becoming the top advisor to Syria’s Defense Minister.

Last year, Cohen's wristwatch was brought to Israel in a secret operation of the Mossad, and after Eli Cohen was executed, the watch was held by an enemy state.

When the watch was returned to Israel, research and intelligence activities were carried out, at the end of which it was determined unequivocally that the watch was indeed Cohen's.