Red Cross says Lebanon-Israel swap could take months
Lebanon, Politics, 10/10/1997
A senior Red Cross official said on Thursday that negotiations for the exchange of dead Israeli soldiers' remains with Lebanese prisoners in Israeli jails were slowed by problems and could take "months" to accomplish. Jean-Jacques Fresard, the Beirut delegate of the International Committee of the Red Cross, said after a meeting with Prime Minister Rafik Hariri Thursday he would carry a message from the prime minister on the issue to Israel. He declined to disclose its contents.
Twelve Israeli soldiers were killed in a failed commando raid in Lebanon last month. Only hours after the ill-fated raid on Sept. 5, Hezbollah guerrillas displayed torn limbs and a crushed skull left behind by the retreating Israeli troops. Other remains are believed to be in the custody of another Shiite Muslim guerrilla group, Amal, as well as the Lebanese army.
Hezbollah has offered to exchange the Israeli remains for the remains of Lebanese guerrillas or Lebanese prisoners held in Israeli jails. Fresard has been shuttling between Israel and Lebanon in order to arrange for the swap. Fresard said Thursday there has been "some progress, despite the presence of problems and difficulties along the way." He added that the deal "could take months" if problems were not rapidly solved.
Last year, Hezbollah exchanged the remains of two Israeli soldiers for 45 Lebanese detainees held by Israel in south Lebanon in addition to over a hundred bodies.
Lebanese Amal movement has remains of Israeli soldiers' bodies
Israel-Hizbollah negotiation about prisoners
Israel embarassed by Hizbullah successes
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