Hizbullah: Deal shows our strength

Group calls Israel's decision on prisoner swap proof that "resistance is faithful, strongest, supreme."

Regev Goldwasser 224.88 (photo credit: Channel 10)
Regev Goldwasser 224.88
(photo credit: Channel 10)
The Israeli decision to release Samir Kuntar in exchange for kidnapped IDF reservists Ehud Goldwasser and Eldad Regev reflected Hizbullah's strength, the group said Sunday evening. "What happened in the prisoners issue is a proof that the word of the resistance is the most faithful, strongest and supreme," the group's Al-Manar TV quoted Hizbullah's Executive Council chief Hashem Safieddine as saying. In the southern city of Sidon, members of the Popular Democratic Party were decorating the central Martyrs Square with pictures of Kuntar and hanging banners such as "Freedom to the hero, prisoner Samir Kuntar," "the chain must break," and "freedom comes with blood not tears." The proposed deal would require the approval of Hizbullah's secretive, decision-making Shura Council. Germany has been trying to mediate a prisoner exchange since Israel's war with Lebanon ended in August 2006. The group has tried for Kuntar's release for years, but Israel has held him for nearly three decades, hoping to use him as a bargaining chip to extract information from Hizbullah about the fate of the missing Israeli airman, Ron Arad. Recently, Israeli leaders concluded Hizbullah has no new information about Arad. His family, who had been told by a previous government that Kantar would not be released without more information about Arad's whereabouts, shunned an invitation to meet with Olmert to discuss the prisoner swap. In the end, however, Hizbullah agreed to turn over additional information about Arad as part of the prisoner exchange deal.