RealNews

Hezbollah Releases Israeli Businessman as Prisoner Swap Begins

An Israeli businessman and the bodies of three Israeli soldiers held for more than three years in Lebanon by the radical Hezbollah militia were released early Thursday and were being flown to Germany as part of a complex prisoner swap. A short time later, at about 3:30 a.m., a plane with about 35 Arab prisoners departed from Israel, also headed to Germany. If all goes as planned, the flights will be the first moves of a deal three years in the making that will climax with massive homecoming ceremonies in Tel Aviv, Beirut and the Palestinian territories for prisoners held by their enemies for years. A key element in the swap is the positive identification of the remains of the three Israeli soldiers — sergeants Benny Avraham, Adi Avitan and Omar Sawayid — who were ambushed by Hezbollah gunmen in October 2000 while patrolling in northern Israel along the Lebanese border. Full Story

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