Israeli foreign ministry officials said Thursday evening it has information that Hizbullah guerrillas are trying to transfer captured soldiers Ehud Goldwasser and Eldad Regev to Iran.
It is very unlikely that the soldiers will be sent to Iran immediately.
According to Yossi Melman , Ha'aretz expert on intelligence matters “there is no need to send the soldiers to Iran. The Iranian intelligence organisation can easily send interrogators to Lebanon, who can sit in during the interrogation sessions, or actively participate in them. This has been done before, and can easily be done again”.
Furthermore, if Hezbollah hands the soldiers to Iran, it will look like a complete Iranian puppet to the Lebanese people. This will damage Hezbollah's on going efforts to portray itself as a genuine Lebanese organisation. ...
Updates on this as it develops.
UPDATE. A commenter at Dreams Into Lightning says that CNN is now reporting this.
UPDATE II. Fox News: 'Israel's foreign ministry said Thursday that Lebanese guerillas holding the two soldiers captive are trying to transfer them to Iran. Foreign Ministry spokesman Mark Regev did not disclose the source of his information.'
UPDATE III. CNN: 'Hezbollah chief Nasrallah told reporters that seizing the soldiers was "our natural, only and logical right" to win freedom for Hezbollah prisoners held by Israel. Nasrallah said the two soldiers had been taken to a place "far, far away" and that an Israeli military campaign would not win their release.'
UPDATE IV. Amos Harel at Ha'Aretz:
Israel has concrete evidence that Hezbollah plans to transfer the two Israel Defense Forces soldiers abducted Wednesday to Iran, Foreign Ministry spokesman Mark Regev said Thursday.
"We have concrete evidence that Hezbollah plans to transfer the kidnapped soldiers to Iran. As a result, Israel views Hamas, Hezbollah, Syria and Iran as the main players in the axis of terror and hate that endangers not only Israel, but the entire world," AFP quoted Deputy Director General of the Foreign Ministry Gideon Meir as saying.
An Al-Jazeera correspondent said Thursday that he had evidence that the two soldiers - identified Thursday as Ehud Goldwasser, 31, of Nahariya, and Eldad Regev, 26, of Kiryat Motzkin - were alive during the abduction. He said they were transferred to a Shi'ite mosque in a nearby town, where the abductors changed clothes. According to the report, one of the soldiers was transferred in a cab, to make it difficult for Israeli intelligence to locate him. The Al-Jazeera correspondent stressed that he had received the information from a source close to Hezbollah, and that members of the organization refuse to disclose more information with nothing in return.