Lebanese minister accuses Israel of killing its own soldiers during 2006 raid

BEIRUT (BNO NEWS) –Lebanese Health Minister Hassan Khalil on Wednesday claimed that an Israeli raid during the 2006 war in Lebanon killed two Israeli soldiers held captive by Hezbollah, local media reported on Thursday.

Khalil, a close ally of Hezbollah, wrote in his memoirs of the 34-day war being published by As-Safir daily in Beirut that the soldiers were killed in an Israeli raid after Hezbollah guerrillas captured them during a cross border attack on July 12, 2006. They were allegedly captured with the aim of exchanging them for Lebanese and Arab prisoners held in Israel, the Daily Star reported.

However, Israel denied the claims, according to Ynet news. A spokesman from the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) said: “The statement by the representative of the Hezbollah terror group are untrue and are meant to be used as psychological warfare. Hezbollah was behind the 2006 abduction and is therefore responsible for its tragic result.”

A spokesperson for Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Ofir Gendelman, also denied the claims via Twitter. “These claims are baseless, as the two soldiers were killed by Hezbollah during the attack on their IDF patrol on July 12, 2006,” he said.

The remains of the two soldiers were eventually exchanged with the last Lebanese prisoners held by Israel in 2008. The Lebanese minister did not say why the allegation was not revealed earlier but described the incident as one of the biggest secrets of the 2006 war.

Hundreds of people died during the 2006 war after Israel launched a 34-day offensive against Lebanon in retaliation for the abduction of the two soldiers.

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