Israel's prime minister has thanked the Russian President for agreeing to return a tank from a battle in the 1982 Lebanon war from which three soldiers are still missing in action.

Benjamin Netanyahu issued a statement Sunday thanking Vladimir Putin. It says that after the war Syria delivered the tank to the Russian army and it later ended up in a Moscow museum.

Three soldiers from the Sultan Yacoub battle where the tank was deployed are still MIA.

Military service is compulsory in Israel and the fate of the missing soldiers has emotional resonance.

Netanyahu addressed the soldiers' families in the statement saying, "there has been nothing to remember the boys by and no grave to visit for 34 years now. The tank is the only evidence of the battle."