Lebanon has been welcoming lorryloads of its dead, released by Israel as part of yesterday’s exchange deal. Nearly 200 bodies of those killed while trying to infiltrate Israel in recent years were exhumed and sent north over the Lebanese border on Red Cross trucks. They were welcomed as fallen heroes.
The others to come home were five Lebanese prisoners, said by Hezbollah to be the last to be held by Israel.
They were welcomed in Beirut by the Hezbollah leader, Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah, who said: “The factors that pressured the Israeli enemy to accept the deal were not merely humanitarian. There was their inability to save the two soldiers and their fear of our resistance.”
One of the five, Samir Qantar, had been serving multiple life sentences for a Palestinian guerilla attack.
Their release closes a file which has prompted numerous cross-border raids in the last quarter of a century, to capture Israelis to use as bargaining chips.