Deal in works to reveal fate of missing Israeli soldier Madji Halabi

By Jennifer Lipman, April 24, 2012
Madji Halabi

Madji Halabi

Israel is believed to be a step closer to determining the fate of a Druze soldier who went missing nearly seven years ago.

IDF soldier Majdi Halabi was 19 when he was last sighted on May 24 2005, attempting to hitchhike near Mount Carmel. His parents and others believe Private Halabi was kidnapped, and he appears on the Foreign Ministry's official list of missing in action soldiers.

Now the Israeli government is reportedly working on a deal with three prisoners, one of whom was jailed for murder, who claim to know what happened to Private Halabi and have information about the whereabouts of his grave.

Two of the three prisoners would be pardoned and paroled early in return for the information, while the other is understood to have asked for substantial financial compensation.

Private Halabi's father Nazmi told Israeli reporters that he believed the men were lying and that his son was still alive. His son was 19 when he disappeared, the same age as Gilad Shalit was when he was kidnapped by Hamas a year later.

Speaking earlier today, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu vowed to use all efforts to bring the country's MIA soldiers home.

"I would not say at all costs, but if they find the location of this missing one using these means, I will do it," he said.

"There were prices for Gilad Shalit, and we're trying to return Jonathan Pollard. We are making extraordinary efforts."

He said he was not yet able to confirm whether the information being offered by the prisoners was authentic, but highlighted his hope that "something will be found regarding this tragedy afflicting his family".

Last updated: 11:20am, April 24 2012