Russian state media has broadcast what it says is previously unseen footage of Israeli spy Eli Cohen in Damascus during the 1960s, at a time when he was active in Syria as an agent for the Jewish state.
The RT television network included the clip as part of a documentary released last week, entitled “Spyfall,” that explored espionage in Syria at the time.
In the few seconds of black and white movie, a man that the network said was probably Mossad agent Cohen is seen striding along a street in the Syrian capital near the Syrian Air Force headquarters in the government quarter, not far from Cohen’s apartment.
The footage was reportedly filmed by Boris Lukin, a signals specialist who had been sent to Syria as the Russian military attaché.
It was not clear if he intended to film Cohen or captured him by chance.
Cohen’s widow, Nadia Cohen, told the Israel Hayom newspaper that she had watched the clip.
“This is another reminder of my Eli,” she said, but also criticized the government for not doing more to bring home her husband’s remains, the location of which remain a mystery.
Cohen infiltrated the top levels of Syria’s political leadership in the years before the 1967 Six Day War, and information he obtained is credited with playing a key role in Israel’s stunning success in that war.
He was put on trial and executed by the Syrian government for espionage on May 18, 1965, after he successfully breached the Syrian government under the alias Kamel Amin Thaabet for four years.
Cohen’s body has not been returned from Syria, despite decades of appeals by his family. Israel has asked for Russia’s help in that effort, so far to no avail.
The RT documentary was released as Moscow was mediating the release of an Israeli woman who crossed into Syria earlier in the month.
The woman was returned to Israel on Friday via a swap deal brokered by Russia, two weeks after she crossed the border into Syria. Details of the affair, including the woman’s name and pictures of her, have been censored by the military. She is said to be a 25-year-old from Modiin Illit who speaks fluent Arabic.
Israel released two Syrian shepherds captured on the Israeli side of the border, and reduced the sentence of a security prisoner of Syrian nationality, in what was widely seen as an exchange deal. Israel said it made the moves as a goodwill gesture.
A foreign report said that Israeli also agreed to buy $1 million worth of Russian vaccines for Syria as part of the deal.