Mossad refused $1 million offer from former Syria president's son to find Israeli spy's remains

Mossad refused $1 million offer from former Syria president's son to find Israeli spy's remains
Israeli spy Eli Cohen operated in Syria for many years, before being discovered and executed.
2 min read
25 November, 2019
Eli Cohen was executed in 1965 [Getty]
The son of Syria's former president claimed he offered to help Mossad find Eli Cohen's remains, an Israeli spy who was executed by Syrian authorities in 1965, in an interview with New Zealand media on the weekend.

Syrian President Amin Al-Hafiz's son, 
Khalid Al-Hafidh, told Newshub that New Zealand's intelligence service helped broker a deal with Mossad on the issue and he communicated with an agent via text message.

Al-Hafidh said he was ready to help Israeli intelligence retrieve Cohen's body in Syria for $1 million but then the trail went cold.

"I was cooperating with the New Zealand Secret Intelligence Service in a mission with the Mossad of Israel to help find - to try to find - the remains of the Israeli spy Eli Cohen," he told the New Zealand media outlet.

"I am the son of the only person on this planet who knows where the remains are buried."

Egypt-born Cohen was an adviser to the Syrian defence minister and had links with key figures in the Damascus government, even striking a friendship with President Amin Al-Hafiz himself.

Cohen passed sensitive Syrian military intelligence to the Israelis throughout the early 1960s, including information that was said to be key to Israel's success in the 1967 war.

Cohen was caught and hanged in a Damascus public square in 1965 and buried in secret. 

Khalid Al-Hafidh - who is now a refugee in New Zealand - believes his father would have ensured that the Israeli spy was given a proper burial after his execution, despite the betrayal.

Cohen's life was serialised this year in a Netflix drama starring British comedian Sacha Baron Cohen, who played the lead role.

Mossad have been gathering information on the Cohen's remains ever since the spy's execution and last year managed to retrieve Cohen's watch.

Al-Hafidh said that his request to the Israelis for $1 million to help find Cohen's body was due to the dangers he would face returning to Syria to gather information. He never heard back Mossad.

"I did not want to do it for the money. I did not want to do it for Mossad. I wanted to do it for the wife and children of Eli Cohen," he said.

"It was all for good intentions. It went wrong, really wrong."

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