Israel denies Arad has been rescued

Arad bailed out from his fighter plane over Lebanon in 1986. The last time any message was received that he was alive was in October 1987.

Israeli officials have maintained that Iran is holding him. Iran has denied any knowledge of his whereabouts.

According to media reports, Israeli and foreign military reporters during the past two weeks received anonymous messages on their beepers regarding an Israeli commando raid to rescue Arad.

There were varying versions of the rumors. According to one, an operation in Lebanon had left two Israeli commandos dead.

According to another, three commandos had died during a raid in Iran.

The spokesman for the Israel Defense Force also received a report from a nurse at a Safed hospital who claimed Arad was being treated there.