Israel, Hizbullah finalize prisoner exchange deal
A prisoner exchange between Israel and Hizbullah will take place Tuesday, with two Lebanese and other Arab prisoners in Israeli custody to be swapped for an Israeli citizen and the bodies of three Israeli soldiers, a lawyer for the Lebanese said Saturday.
The lawyer, Zvi Rish, told The Associated Press that two Lebanese captured by Israel and other prisoners from Arab countries would be freed in exchange for ex-Israeli officer Elhanan Tannenbaum and the bodies of three Israeli soldiers - all captured by Hizbullah in October 2000.
A German mediator in the exchange held a news conference in Berlin and confirmed the details.
Rish said the deal would include the release of Lebanese leaders Mustafa Dirani and Abdel Karim Obeid.
As part of the deal that Israel's Cabinet narrowly approved on Nov. 9, Israel is also to release some 400 Palestinians, 21 other Lebanese, five Syrians, three Moroccans, three Sudanese and one Libyan. Also included is Steven Smyrek, a 32-year-old German imprisoned in Israel since 1997 for membership in Hizbullah.
Rish said Lebanese activist Samir Kuntar, whom Israel jailed in 1979 for killing three members of an Israeli family during a raid in northern Israel, would not be freed.
Hizbullah leader Sheikh Hassan Nasrallah demanded Kuntar's release. Kuntar, who belonged to a Palestinian group at the time of the raid, is the longest-held Lebanese prisoner and is serving a 542-year sentence. (Albawaba.com)
© 2004 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com)
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