| DEBKAFILE - April 4, 2007 |
The 15 British sailors and marines were seized by a Revolutionary Guards task force Friday, March 23, in northern Gulf waters that have been disputed between Iraq and Iran. Their families saw them alive and well in one Iranian television broadcast after another.
In contrast, all three Israeli soldiers were abducted in cross-border raids - Gideon Shalit by a Hamas-led band which crossed from Gaza in June 2006, and Udi Goldwasser and Eldad Regev, kidnapped in Israel by the Hizballah the following the month.
None of the three have been seen or heard of since. No international visitors are allowed, no letters or any other access to their hidden places of imprisonment.
But the British and Israeli cases do have a common factor: Iran, which captured and freed the British sailors and marines, also has the authority to weigh in for the Israeli captives' release with its Lebanese proxy and the Hamas-led group of Popular Resistance Committees and al Qaeda Falastin in Gaza. It is in Iran's power to end the long agony of uncertainty suffered by their families. - - - -