Kharazi: Hizbollah Wants Release of all Detainees in Israel
The Iranian-backed Lebanese Hizbollah group wants the release of "all the prisoners and hostages held by Israel" in return for three Israeli soldiers it is holding, Iranian Foreign Minister Kamal Kharazi repeated in Beirut Thursday.
The statement was similar to one he made on arrival in Damascus Wednesday, and did not specify if he was referring to both Lebanese and Palestinian prisoners held in the Jewish state.
An Iranian embassy official in Damascus, Ali Ahsan, told AFP Wednesday that he left it "to the discretion of the Hizbollah leader", Sheikh Hassan Nasrallah.
Hizbollah has demanded the release of 19 Lebanese being held in Israel, but has also been asked by Palestinian groups to include some 1,500 Palestinian prisoners in its terms.
Kharazi said Iran, for its part, was seeking the release of two diplomats, an embassy employee and a journalist who disappeared during Israel's invasion of Lebanon in 1982.
The four were abducted at a roadblock manned by a pro-Israeli Christian militia and Iran claims they ended up in Israel. Christian sources say they were killed.
Kharazi also said he knew nothing of the whereabouts of Ron Irad, an Israeli air force navigator shot down and captured over Lebanon in 1986 by members of the Shiite Amal movement.
Amal leader Nabih Berri, speaker of the Lebanese parliament, said he had been handed over to the Iranians by Amal dissidents.
Israel is holding prominent Lebanese abducted during its occupation of southern Lebanon as bargaining chips for information on Arad and other missing servicemen, or their return dead or alive.
The Israeli soldiers were snatched by Hizbollah last Saturday in a raid into the disputed Shabaa Farms area on the Israeli-held Lebanese-Syrian border -- BEIRUT (AFP)
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