Freed terrorist Samir Qantar, who bludgeoned a 4-year-old child to death with the butt of his rifle in a raid on an Israeli community, was given a red-carpet and rose-petals hero's welcome yesterday by Lebanese president Michel Suleiman and Hezbollah leaders, reports the Times of London. Qantar, who has been in prison nearly 30 years, and four Hezbollah guerrillas were released in a swap with Israel for the remains of two Israeli soldiers captured in 2006.
The welcome in Beirut was interpreted as a symbolic gesture of reconciliation between Hezbollah’s allies and opponents, after months of bitter political feuding. At a rally attended by tens of thousands, a Hezbollah leader confirmed that the deaths of the two Israeli soldiers had been carefully concealed until yesterday. “Had their fates been revealed in a tactical error, the negotiations would have taken a different course,” he said.