Israel to return fighters' bodies

Israel plans to return the bodies of three Lebanese Hizb Allah fighters killed in a fierce border clash, in the hope of easing tensions with the resistance group and Beirut, the Israeli army says.

    Israel says the move is to ease tensions with the Hizb Allah

    Four fighters died during a Hizb Allah raid on Monday which Lebanese security sources said aimed, but failed, to seize Israeli soldiers who could be traded for Arabs jailed in Israel.
       
    One of the dead was retrieved by the Lebanese but the rest remained on the Israeli side of Ghajar, a divided border town.
       
    Eleven Israeli soldiers were wounded in the clashes, the fiercest since the Jewish state withdrew forces from southern Lebanon in 2000 after a 22-year occupation. Israel retaliated for the Hizb Allah raid with shelling and air strikes.
       
    The Israeli army said in a statement that following an official request by the Lebanese government, Israel would hand over the Hizb Allah fighters' bodies to Lebanon on Friday at Rosh Haniqra, a border town known to Lebanese as Naqoura.
       
    "There is hope in Israel, which has been communicated to Beirut, that this gesture will help calm down the frontier," an Israeli security source said.
       
    Tensions had been ratcheted up further on Wednesday when an Israeli civilian paraglider pilot was blown across the border by strong winds. The pro-Syrian Hizb Allah and Israeli troops exchanged fire as he dashed back to safety. There were no casualties.

    SOURCE: Reuters


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