Israel, Hezbollah swap prisoners

July 16th, 2008 - 2:56 pm ICT by IANS  

Rosh Hanikra (Israel), July 16 (Xinhua) Israel and the Lebanese Hezbollah group began swapping prisoners Wednesday at the Rosh Hanikra Lebanon-Israel border crossing. Hezbollah handed over to the Red Cross two black coffins, believed to contain the remains of Israeli soldiers Ehud Goldwasser and Eldad Regev, kidnapped and killed by the Lebanese group two years ago.

Many Israelis, including the members of the dead soldiers’ families and friends, burst into tears when they saw the coffins.

Israel is to determine the identities of the two bodies by DNA tests.

Once the identities are confirmed, Israel will return four imprisoned Hezbollah militants - Maher Kourani, Khodor Zaidan, Mohammed Srour and Hussein Suleiman - and the Lebanese killer Samir Kuntar, who was jailed for life plus 40 years in prison for murdering three of a family and a police officer in Nahariya in 1979.

Israel is also to hand over the bodies of 199 people killed while trying infiltrate northern Israel. The remains have been transported to the border.

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