Naqoura, January 30
The remains of 59 guerrillas were returned to Lebanon today at a crossing on the Lebanese-Israeli border, completing a German-mediated prisoner swap deal involving hundreds of Arab prisoners and four Israelis.
The bodies, which had been kept with the International Committee of the Red Cross in a buffer zone along the border since the Israelis handed them over yesterday, were brought to the Lebanese side in ICRC trucks this morning.
An official ceremony was to be held in this Lebanese border town, which also is headquarters to a UN peacekeeping force. Afterward, the remains will be driven to Beirut, about 100 km to the north, making stops along the way.
The caskets will be transferred from the ICRC trucks to special trucks with clear glass covers. The bodies will be assembled in Beirut for identification before families can claim them for burial. In the swap, Israel freed 400 Palestinians prisoners and 30 other Arabs, including 23 Lebanese. Israel received in return a kidnapped businessman and the remains of three soldiers killed in a 2000 ambush.