Israel-Hezbollah prisoners swap to include 160 Fatah bodies

July 14th, 2008 - 4:24 am ICT by IANS  

DPA
Beirut, July 14 (DPA) The head of the Palestinian Fatah movement in southern Lebanon said Sunday that the expected swap between Lebanon’s Hezbollah guerrilla movement and Israel will include the bodies of Palestinian guerrillas who fell in Lebanon or carried out attacks inside Israeli territories during the 1970s. “Among the bodies that Lebanon will retrieve from Israel as part of the expected swap, there will be 160 bodies of Fatah members, including the body of Dalal al Moghrabi,” Sultan abu al Anian said in the Palestinian camp of Rashidiyeh, east of Tyre.

Dalal al Moghrabi was a Palestinian woman who carried out an attack on an Israeli bus in 1978, killing 36 Israelis.

Israel’s Prison Service confirmed Sunday that it plans to release Wednesday five Lebanese prisoners who are to be exchanged for two Israeli soldiers abducted in 2006 by Hezbollah, Israel Army Radio reported.

The exchange is part of a German-brokered prisoner swap with the militant Shia movement. The report quoted an Israel Prison Services official as naming the five Lebanese prisoners up for release, among them the longest-held and most high profile detainee, Samir Kuntar.

Kuntar is serving multiple life sentences for a 1979 hostage-taking raid in northern Israel in which he and his men killed four Israelis.

“Samir Kuntar and four other Lebanese prisoners - Khaled Zidan, Maher Kurani, Mohammed Sarur and Hussein Suleiman - will be taken Wednesday from their centres of detention to a place to be decided by the Israeli Army,” Israeli reports said.

Under the deal, Israel will release five Lebanese prisoners, the remains of Hezbollah fighters and a number of Palestinians in exchange for the bodies of its soldiers Ehud Goldwasser and Eldad Regev.

Hezbollah captured the two Israelis in a cross-border raid July 12, 2006 that sparked a devastating 33-day war with Israel that killed more than 1,200 people in Lebanon, mostly civilians, and 160 Israelis, mostly soldiers.

Hezbollah did not allow the Red Cross to visit Regev or Goldwasser, and never forwarded any sign of life from the two. Israeli officials believe that they are dead.

Hezbollah chief Sheikh Hassan Nasrallah said earlier this month that “so far Hezbollah has not handed over any information about the fate of the two soldiers. Anything said in Israel is mere speculation.”

Israeli media also reported Sunday that Prime Minister Ehud Olmert was due to convene his cabinet Tuesday and likely authorise the swap.

Olmert’s representative on the prisoners issue, Ofer Dekel, signed the deal brokered by a UN-appointed German mediator Gerhard Conrad Sunday. The Israeli cabinet, after a charged, hours-long session, approved the outline of the deal with Hezbollah June 29.

The Israeli media said Saturday that the Jewish state had received a report from Hezbollah on airman Ron Arad who went missing in Lebanon in 1986 - one of the conditions to be fulfilled before the prisoner swap goes ahead.
DPA

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