ISRAEL FREES SYRIAN SOLDIERS – Israel frees two as ‘goodwill’ for return of soldier’s


Israel, today released two prisoners, including one jailed for spying for Syria, in what it called a goodwill gesture for the Russian-assisted repatriation, of the body of a long-missing Israeli soldier last year.

The release followed the handing over of the remains and personal effects of Zachary Baumel, who was declared missing in action along with two other Israeli soldiers, by Russia.

An Isreali prisons service spokeswoman described the released prisoners in a statement saying Sidqi al-Maqt was jailed in 2015 “for treason and espionage, support for terrorism and contact with a hostile organisation”, and Amal Abu Saleh, the same year “for killing a Syrian civilian”.

Maqt, had also been sentenced to 11 years in part for spying for the government of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

Both men were released “before the end of their imprisonment” in coordination with the Israeli military, the statement said.