Lebanese prisoners arrive in Naqoura (Lead)

July 16th, 2008 - 11:18 pm ICT by IANS  

Naqoura (Lebanon), July 16 (DPA) Five Lebanese prisoners who were released Wednesday by Israel as part of a swap with the Lebanese Hezbollah movement arrived in Lebanon amid joyous celebrations. The prisoners were greeted by Hezbollah officials at the Naqoura crossing on the Lebanese side of the border.

“I am happy to be home,” the longest-held Lebanese prisoner Samir Kuntar said in a brief statement as he entered Lebanese territories.

The four others, all Hezbollah members, were seen kissing officials from the Shia movement as they alighted from Red Cross vehicles.

Kuntar, wearing a grey sweatshirt and blue jeans, alighted from the Red Cross car and was greeted by Hezbollah official Wafik Safa amid scenes of joy.

The four other prisoners were also whisked by Hezbollah militants towards the area, where a ceremony was scheduled.

They were then to be taken by presidential helicopter to Beirut International airport for an official welcome and to be reunited with their families.

As the prisoners entered the Lebanese territories, boats carrying Hezbollah and Lebanese flags sailed the coast near Naqoura.

A Hezbollah military squad saluted the prisoners as they arrived for the red-carpet official welcoming ceremony.

Under the deal, Israel released the five prisoners, and 199 bodies which had been buried in an anonymous cemetery for enemy combatants, in return for the bodies of two soldiers snatched by Hezbollah during a July 12 2006 cross-border raid.

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