Israel buries soldiers after Hezbollah returns bodies in swap

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Israel buries soldiers after Hezbollah returns bodies in swap

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Israel has been burying two of its soldiers whose capture in 2006 triggered a war with Hezbollah.

The bodies of Ehud Goldwasser and Eldad Regev were handed back as part of a prisoner exchange yesterday two years after they disappeared in a military operation in the north of Israel.

Forensic tests have established both men probably died from rocket and gunshot wounds on the day they were captured in July 2006.

Goldwasser’s wife, who has travelled the globe meeting world leaders in an effort to bring her husband home, paid homage to him his funeral this morning. The families of both soldiers have been highly critical of the Israeli government saying it didn’t do enough to get them and others back.

Thousands turned out for Goldwasser’s funeral including Defense Minister Ehud Barak.

The prisoner swap has raised many questioned both in and outside Israel. Critics argue that such practices only encourage militant groups to capture more soldiers.

The question remains very much alive as Israeli soldier Gilad Schalit remains in the hands of militants linked to Hamas following his capture two years ago.

He is believed to still be alive and Hamas is demanding Israel hand over Palestinian prisoners in exchange for his release.