Israel Releases 5 Prisoners, 200 Bodies in Hezbollah Deal

Exchanges for remains of 2 missing soldiers
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 16, 2008 11:39 AM CDT
A Hezbollah militant rides horseback during the ceremony welcoming prisoners exchanged for two dead Israeli soldiers, in Nakura, southern Lebanon, Wednesday, July 16, 2008    (AP Photo/Darko Bandic)
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(Newser) – Israel released five Lebanese prisoners and nearly 200 bodies today, the New York Times reports, completing a deal with Hezbollah that netted the Jewish state the bodies of two of its captured soldiers. The most notable prisoner was Samir Kuntar, who had spent more than three decades in Israeli prison for murdering a 4-year-old girl. He was 16 at the time.

Kuntar has said he regrets nothing, and expects a hero’s welcome in Lebanon. All five prisoners will be flown to Beirut for such a ceremony later today. The prisoners were released only after DNA testing confirmed that the bodies Hezbollah provided belonged to the missing men, whose capture in 2006 set off a war between Israel and Lebanon.