President Vladimir Putin told Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Thursday that Russian special forces troops in Syria had found the remains of a U.S.-born Israeli soldier missing since 1982, allowing him to be finally buried, the Moscow Times reported.
The disappearance of Sgt. First Class Zachary Baumel, who was 21 when he fought in Israel’s invasion of Lebanon and was declared missing in action along with two other soldiers in the Battle of Sultan Yacoub, has long troubled Israel.
Netanyahu, meeting with Putin in Moscow on Thursday, thanked him for finding Baumel’s remains, and attended a memorial ceremony for Baumel held in Moscow.
“We are very happy that they will be able to give him the necessary military honors at home and most importantly… that his close relatives will be able to bring flowers to his grave,” Putin said in comments published by the Kremlin.
The precise location of his remains was not disclosed, but Netanyahu said Russian soldiers had risked their lives to get them.
Baumel will be buried in Jerusalem on Thursday.
The funeral was scheduled for 7 p.m. at Mount Herzl, according to the Israel Defense Forces.
The announcement that Baumel’s remains had been located brought to a close a decades-long mission by Baumel’s Jerusalem-based, American-born parents to find their son, which included international pressure campaigns and faint hopes that he may have been captured alive during the brutal Sultan Yacoub tank battle, the Times of Israel reported.
Yona Baumel, Zachary’s father, died 10 years ago; his mother Miriam is 90 years old.