Five Lebanese prisoners, including longest-held detainee Samir Qantar, have crossed the border into Lebanon in exchange for the remains of two Israeli soldiers. Israel released the fighters following a deal with Shiite party Hezbollah.
On Wednesday at 4pm GMT+2, a white van carrying Samir Qantar and four other Lebanese prisoners crossed the Israeli-Lebanese border, completing the Israeli half of the prisoner exchange agreement. The news was met with rejoicing in
“I feel ashamed to see celebration for a murderer,” said Avital Leibovich, of the Israeli Defence Force, in an interview with
The five prisoners include Samir Qantar, in jail since 1979 for killing two men and a child. The four others are Khaled Zidan, Maher Kurani, Mohammed Sarur and Hussein Suleiman, fighters captured during the 34-day
As for the Hezbollah half of the exchange, Israeli radio confirmed that the two coffins handed over by Hezbollah early on Wednesday did indeed contain the remains of Israeli soldiers Eldad Regev and Ehud Goldwasser.
Leibovich confirmed that the process of identifying the bodies was finished: “We completed our identification process with the rabbinate and the medical board.” As for what will now happen to the corpses, Leibovich reports that they will be taken to a secluded facility where the families can receive them privately, away from the media.
Israel is also transferring to Lebanon the remains of some 200 Palestinian and Hezbollah fighters exhumed over the past week. A truck carrying the coffins of the first of those fighters included has crossed the Israeli border towards Lebanon.
Dead or Alive?
Dead or Alive?
A question that had been plaguing the nation of Israel since the two soldiers were taken 2 years and 4 days ago is that of whether the soldiers were dead or merely injured at the time of capture. A Hezbollah official, Wafik Safa, claimed that army reservists Ehud Goldwasser and Eldad Regev were dead at the time. However, many Israeli experts, including Leibovich, say that the matter remains unconfirmed.
Marc de Chalvron, a FRANCE 24 special correspondent reporting from the Rosh Haniki crossing on the Israeli-Lebanese border, spoke of the atmosphere in
Mourning in Israel, celebration in Lebanon
Israeli President Shimon Peres on Tuesday pardoned the five Lebanese, saying it was "not a happy day for having to free such murderers but we have a moral responsibility to bring our soldiers home."
The mood in
“There are a lot of questions in
Date created : 2008-07-16