(photo credit: Channel 2)
Samir Kuntar, a Lebanese Druse, was sentenced to four life sentences in 1979 for the deaths of Danny Haran, 28, his two daughters and a policeman in Nahariya.
A member of the Palestine Liberation Front, Kuntar and four others sailed 10 kilometers under the cover of night from south Lebanon to Nahariya in a 55-horse-power rubber boat. The mission, led by Kuntar and titled the Nasser Operation, brought the terrorists to the Nahariya coast around midnight on April 22, 1979.
The group murdered police officer Eliahu Shahar after he stumbled upon the gang. The men then entered an apartment building at Rehov Jabotinski 61 and broke into the Haran family's apartment, taking them hostage.
Kuntar's gang took Danny and four-year-old Einat Haran hostage as police reinforcements arrived on the scene.
Haran's wife, Smadar, hid with her two-year-old daughter Yael in a crawl space above the couple's bedroom. Smadar tried to muffle the girl's cries, and accidentally smothered her.
As officers arrived at the building, the terrorists pulled Danny and Einat out of the apartment building and down to the beach, where a shootout with police and soldiers ensued.
Kuntar shot Danny Haran at close-range and threw his body into the sea to make sure he died. He then bashed Einat's head on rocks and with butt of his rifle, killing her instantly.
Two terrorists were killed by police during the shootout, while Kuntar and Ahmed al-Abrass were captured.
Abrass was released in May 1985 during the Ahmed Jibril prisoner exchange, while Kuntar remained in prison.
In a 2003 article in The Washington Post, Smadar Haran recalled her final moments with Danny.
"I will never forget the joy and the hatred in [the terrorists'] voices as they swaggered about hunting for us, firing their guns and throwing grenades," Haran wrote. "As I lay there, I remembered my mother telling me how she had hidden from the Nazis during the Holocaust. 'This is just like what happened to my mother,' I thought."
Kuntar has openly expressed pride about the killings over the years.
He hails from the Lebanese mountain village of Aabey and has been in Israeli prison longer than any other Lebanese.
Many say Hizbullah kidnapped IDF reservists Eldad Regev and Ehud Goldwasser in 2006 to use them as bargaining tools to force Kuntar's release.
Kuntar got married while in prison and he receives conjugal visits from his wife.
His release has been brought up before in negotiations with Hizbullah head Hassan Nasrallah. In 2006, he was offered as part of a failed deal to free Goldwasser and Regev.
Two years earlier, Hizbullah demanded Kuntar's release a part of the Elhannan Tannenbaum prisoner deal that sent 435 Palestinian and Lebanese prisoners back home.
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