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Israeli diplomat thanks Putin for consent to return Magach tank to Israel

June 01, 2016, 20:30 UTC+3 MOSCOW

Russia agreed to return to Israel a Magach lost during a battle against the Syrian army during the 1982 Lebanon War

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MOSCOW, June 1 /TASS/. Israel’s Ambassador to Moscow Zvi Heifetz has thanked Russia, which has agreed to return a Magach tank exhibited at a museum of armored vehicles near Moscow to Israel.

"I would like to use this opportunity to thank the Russian leadership and personally the Russian president [Vladimir Putin] for a very humane gesture, which was made just a few days ago when an order to return the Israeli tank was signed," Zvi Heifetz told a news conference at TASS on Wednesday.

Heifetz said that the Israeli army had lost the Magach tank during a battle against the Syrian army during the 1982 Lebanon War. "Three Israeli soldiers went missing then. Their families have been looking for something, which could connect them to the dead, for 34 years. The attitude to fallen soldiers in our country is similar to the one, which Russia has to soldiers who fell during the [Great Patriotic] war in Russia," Heifetz stressed.

On May 29, the office of the Israeli prime minister reported that after a request by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu Russia agreed to return the lost Magach tank to Israel. The same day, Netanyahu thanked Putin for the positive answer. He said that the tank was the only witness of that battle. An Israeli military delegation is staying in Moscow to study the technical aspects of the tank’s return together with Russian army representatives.

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