Hizbullah, Israel deny report on end of contacts regarding prisoner swap
Israeli sources on Wednesday evening denied a claim earlier in the day that Israel had suspended indirect prisoner exchange talks with Hizbullah over growing opposition to any deal that did not include missing airman Ron Arad. Hizbullah TV also said the claim was "false and baseless."
The Lebanese movement and Israel have been holding contacts on an exchange through German mediators of Israeli reservist colonel Elhanan Tannenbaum and three soldiers for about 15 Lebanese and some 400 Palestinian and other Arab detainees in Israel.
"Hizbullah has been informed by the German mediator that Israel has stopped the negotiations over the exchange of Lebanese and Arab prisoners for the Israeli captives," a Lebanese source, who requested anonymity, told earlier Reuters.
"Israel insists now on including Arad in any exchange deal...Hizbullah has told the mediator that it did not know the whereabouts of Arad but that it was willing to continue looking for him," the source added.
He said Arad had not been included in the possible swap with Hizbullah as the group did not know who held him.
The source said the negotiations over the past weeks had included discussions on two Hizbullah members jailed in Germany.
In recent weeks, media reports said Israel and Hizbullah were close to finalize the details of the deal. (Albawaba.com)
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