RealNews

Israel, Hezbollah Close to Prisoner Deal

Israel and the Lebanese guerrilla group Hezbollah are close to reaching agreement on a prisoner swap, Israel’s foreign minister said Monday. The German-brokered exchange would involve trading Israeli businessman Elhanan Tannenbaum and the bodies of three Israeli soldiers for several hundred Arab prisoners, including Palestinians. “There is no doubt that the picture today is that the deal is closer than ever,” Foreign Minister Silvan Shalom told Israel’s Army Radio. Tannenbaum was kidnapped in October 2000 on a trip to the United Arab Emirates, and the three soldiers were abducted along the Israeli-Lebanese border in 2000. The militant group seeks the release of two Lebanese guerrilla leaders, Abdel-Karim Obeid and Mustafa Dirani. Israel seized Obeid in 1989 and Dirani in 1994, reportedly as bargaining chips to secure the release of Ron Arad, an Israeli airman who was shot down over Lebanon in 1986. Full Story

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