Report: Israel Close to Retrieving Remains of Eli Cohen

Eli Cohen in Syria.

A Kuwaiti newspaper reported Thursday that Israel was close to receiving the remains of Israeli spy Eli Cohen, who was executed in Syria for his activities in 1965. The report, in the Al Jarida newspaper, said that Israel would be able to retrieve Cohen’s remains based on new information it has on where he was buried.

The forces controlling the area where Cohen is buried have given their permission to allow Israel to conduct a DNA test to determine whether the remains they have found are those of Cohen’s. A source quoted in the story said that Israel would, in return, agree to allow Syria to place its troops along the Golan border, and to remove Syrian President Bashar al-Assad from the Mossad’s list of foreign targets. Last week, Mossad presented his family with Cohen’s watch, after a special operation to track down his remains.

Cohen, who was born in Egypt, was an Israeli spy in Syria between 1962 and 1965, posing under the alias Kamel Amin Saabet, a well-connected expatriate businessman who was returning home from Argentina. While in Syria, Cohen, built relationships with some of the top members of the Syrian political and military elite, all the while sending information back to Israel on the structure and activities of the Syian army and economy. Israeli historians have attributed some of Israel’s success on the Syrian front during the 1967 Six Day War to Cohen’s work.