Hizb Allah, Berlin talk about new swap

The Lebanese resistance group Hizb Allah and the German government are reported to have started talks regarding a new prisoner exchange deal.

    Hizb Allah has buried returned remains of its fighters

    The report in the As-Safir newspaper came as

    Hizb Allah leader Shaikh Hasan Nasr Allah claimed that Israel is still holding the remains of dozens of Lebanese killed during the state's occupation of the south of his country.

    Speaking at a ceremony in Beirut's southern suburbs for 11 Hizb Allah fighters whose bodies were returned by Israel on Friday, he said the Israelis had indicated during a previous exchange in 1996 that they had no more bodies.
    "But it has been shown they lied, since we received dozens (of bodies) in the new exchange," he charged.

    "I believe there are still in Israel the bodies of dozens of martyrs, resistance fighters, including (those) from Hizb Allah, the Palestinians and fighters from defunct Lebanese parties in the south," when Israel occupied the area for 22 years until May of 2000.

    The movement's leader also accused the Israelis of withholding information on the fate of 250 missing Lebanese, amid reports he has agreed with German mediators to kickstart the second phase of a prisoner swap with Israel.

    He said he had presented the mediators with a list of the 250 Lebanese who went missing following the 1982 Israeli invasion of southern Lebanon.

    On Thursday, Israel freed a total of nearly 450 prisoners, most of them Palestinians and Arabs, in exchange for an Israeli businessman and the bodies of three soldiers.

    Israel also returned the bodies of 59 Lebanese fighters.

    Committees formed

    Nasr Allah said Israel lied about not
    having any more bodies of "martyrs"

    Earlier Saturday, the leftist As-Safir daily said Hizb Allah and German mediators had formed two committees, which will have a little more than three months to complete preparations for the second phase of the prisoner swap.
    "The first committee will undertake research on Ron Arad," a missing Israeli airman. The second will be charged with determining the fate of missing Iranian diplomats and Lebanese," it said.

    The decision to create the committees was made on Friday night during a meeting between Nasr Allah and the head of Germany's external Federal Intelligence Service, August Hanning, it said.
    Hanning's boss, German intelligence chief Ernst Uhrlau, who brokered this week's breakthrough prisoner exchange, on Friday night met in Israel with Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, As-Safir added.

    Samir al-Qantar

    As part of Thursday's swap, Israel agreed to free Lebanese prisoner Samir al-Qantar at a later date in return for information on the fate of Arad, an air force navigator, who has been missing since his aircraft was shot down over Lebanon in 1986.

    Israel agreed to release al-Qantar in
    return for more info on Arad

    The 41-year old al-Qantar received jail sentences totalling 542 years from an Israeli court in 1980 for infiltrating a northern seaside resort and killing a scientist and his four-year-old daughter as well as an Israeli policeman.
    Hizb Allah is also seeking the release of four Iranian diplomats believed to have been handed over to Israel by a Lebanese Christian militia after their capture in 1982.
    It also wants the release of two other Lebanese, one of them a naturalised Israeli and the other whom Israel denies holding. 

    Israel in turn is seeking the return of the bodies of five soldiers which have never been recovered since their deaths during Israel's 1982 onslaught in Lebanon.



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