ICRC in Lebanon Denies Barely Missing Meeting with Captured Israeli Soldiers

Published August 29th, 2001 - 02:00 GMT

The head of the International Committee for the Red Cross in Lebanon denied Tuesday an Israeli report that its representatives had secured a meeting six months ago with three Israeli soldiers captured by Hizbollah, which was called off at the last minute, reported the Daily Star on Wednesday.  

Israel’s Haaretz daily quoted Chief Rabbi Yisrael Lau as saying that the ICRC “had been pressing Hizbollah, via the Lebanese government, to enable them to visit the soldiers and when they finally got a date, they sent a representative to Beirut, who was taken to south Lebanon, only to be told there would be no meeting.”  

He said that the information was given to him by Cornelio Sommarruga, the head of the ICRC. However Henri Fournier, the ICRC Lebanon chief, said “I would have known about it if it had happened. But I have no information on this at all.”  

Hizbollah has consistently refused to allow ICRC officials to meet with the three soldiers and one suspected Mossad agent held by the organization since last October.  

Meanwhile, the families of the four Israelis held by Hizbollah have asked Israel’s High Court of Justice to cancel a ruling issued last week permitting Mustafa Dirani and Sheikh Abdel-Karim Obeid to receive visits from the ICRC. 

The pair have been detained for years by Israel, which hopes to use them as bargaining chips in POW exchanges – Albawaba.com  


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