Israeli media published conflicting information regarding the remains of the Israeli spy Eli Cohen, and the delivery of a personal item belonging to him by the Bashar al-Assad regime to Tel Aviv via Russia.
While the Israeli i24NEWS channel quoted sources it described as being close to Russian intelligence about the search for Cohen’s remains in Damascus, the office of Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, denied this.
The Arabic-language channel published a report, on Tuesday, in which it quoted a Russian intelligence source as saying that “the Syrians provided the Russian soldiers with detailed maps of the area surrounding the Yarmouk refugee camp, the focus of the search for remains.”
It also quoted a source who said they are from the Syrian government that “the Syrians have handed over a personal item belonging to Cohen to the Russians, who are searching the cemetery in the Yarmouk Palestinian refugee camp south of Damascus.”
The source added that “the Russians took this object to Israel for examination,” noting that “Cohen’s personal item could be clothes or some documents that belonged to him.”
According to the same source, “Syria and Russia are at odds over the price that Israel should pay for each additional piece of information related to Cohen.”
i24NEWS also conducted an interview with Netanyahu, in which he said that “the search for Cohen’s remains in Syria is already underway.”
Netanyahu’s office denied what was reported by the channel, and said in a statement that i24NEWS’ report about the item is not accurate.
“The prime minister made clear that efforts to return the remains of Cohen are ongoing and that these efforts have nothing to do with the Russian president,” the statement said.
In their first comment about the matter, Cohen’s family said, according to what the Israeli Public Broadcasting Corporation reported, that they “have not yet received any information from government officials or the Israeli Mossad,” and that they have nothing to say, claiming that the matter is surrounded by rumors.
The Israeli Channel 13 spoke to Cohen’s daughter, who said, “they did not get in touch with us and I have no idea if this is just political propaganda ahead of the elections,” in reference to the Israeli general elections that will take place on March 23.
No statement was issued by the Assad regime or Russia about what was reported by the Israeli channel as of the time of this writing.
This article was translated and edited by The Syrian Observer. The Syrian Observer has not verified the content of this story. Responsibility for the information and views set out in this article lies entirely with the author.