Mustafa Dirani

Mustafa Dirani

Mustafa Dirani was a member and held position of "the head of security" of the Amal movement, a Shi'a militia in Lebanon associated with Syria. In 1987 he started contacts with pro-Iran sources, and eventually he created contacts between them and the rest of the leadership of Amal. He was expelled from Amal and he established his own organization, the "Believing Resistance".

Abducted by Israeli commandos in 1994, he was held in administrative detention as a bargaining chip in exchange for Israeli servicemen held by Hezbollah. At the time, Israeli forces were in control of the southern Lebanon security buffer, in order to prevent the region from being used as a launching ground on attacks on Israel's Galilee region.

Mustafa Dirani was abducted from his home in Lebanon by Israeli commandos on the day of the Muslim festival of Eid ul-Adha. Israel believed that Dirani had exclusive knowledge to the whereabouts of Israel Air Force pilot Ron Arad, who was captured by Dirani's armed men in 1986, and has been unheard of since then. During his interrogation by military officers, Dirani reportedly disclosed that Arad had been turned over first to a Hezbollah militia unit and then to Iranian Revolutionary Guards, who were in Lebanon at the time aiding Hezbollah guerrillas. But neither Iran nor any guerrilla group has ever offered any useful information about his fate. Allegedly, Dirani received $300,000 for transferring Ron Arad to the Iranians.

Dirani alleges that he was sodomized and tortured by his Israeli captors. He testified in an Israeli court to this abuse. These allegations were reported by the Associated Press, Al Jazeera, and the Jerusalem Post. Initially the International Red Cross was denied permission to see Dirani, but a court order forced Israeli prison authorities to comply with legal rules.

In January 2004, in a German-mediated prisoner swap, Dirani along with 22 other Lebanese detainees, about 400 Palestinians, and 12 Israeli-Arab prisoners was released in exchange for the bodies of three Israeli soldiers and Israeli businessman and ex-Israeli soldier Elchanan Tannenbaum.


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