Eli Cohen

Israel has done a deal with Russia to repatriate the remains of famous spy Eli Cohen. Cohen worked in Syria in the 1960s where he was chief advisor to the Syrian Minister for Defence. The intelligence he provided is believed to have given Israel a vital advantage in the Six Day War of 1967. However, Cohen did not live to see that victory. He was caught and executed by the Syrians in 1965.

Israel views its spies in the same light as its soldiers and will go to great lengths to get them back to Israel – even if it is only the return of their bodies. The Syrians know this of course and they buried Cohen’s body in secret to prevent the Israelis launching a special operations raid to reclaim it. Even so, attempts to find his remains have continued.

In 2018, Cohen’s wrist watch came up for auction and Mossad was able to obtain it. The Director of Mossad, Yossi Cohen, presented the watch to Cohen’s widow as a sign that they had not forgotten him. The latest deal appears to have been negotiated with Russia via Turkey and an announcement of the return of his body is expected in the next few days.

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