Remains of Yom Kippur War soldiers found in Sinai

The fact that the Egyptians had removed the tank from the site following the war made locating the remains difficult, he added.

He also said photographs taken shortly after the battle revealed two mounds of earth near the tank.

In later photographs, the mounds were covered by piles of earth from an Egyptian tractor digging defense trenches.

But re-examination of aerial photographs taken of the area shortly after the tank was hit and careful scouring of the zone by Israeli and Egyptian teams led to the bodies, Rubinstein said.

Several days after the remains were found, they were sent to Israel.

Forensic specialists then conducted DNA testing on the remains to confirm the identities before informing the two families.

Israeli President Ezer Weizman, who maintains good relations with his Egyptian counterpart, Hosni Mubarak, had been behind the effort to locate the bodies, repeatedly pressing for coordination with Egyptian authorities.

After the bodies were returned to the Jewish state, Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak issued a statement saying, "Twenty-six years after the battles, we are bringing the dead to a grave in Israel."