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Hezbollah says it has Israeli remains

January 20, 2008|From Times Wire Services

BEIRUT — Hezbollah leader Sheik Hassan Nasrallah said Saturday that his guerrilla organization had the remains of Israeli soldiers left on southern Lebanon's battlefields during a 34-day war that started after the group captured two Israeli soldiers in a cross-border raid.

"Oh Zionists, your army is lying to you. . . . Your army has left the body parts of your soldiers in our villages and fields," Nasrallah said in a rare public appearance.

"I am not talking about regular body parts. I tell the Israelis, we have the heads of your soldiers, we have hands, we have legs."

Nearly 1,200 people in Lebanon, mainly civilians, and 157 Israelis, mostly soldiers, died during the war in 2006.

"There is even a near-complete body, a half or three-quarters of a body, from head to chest to the torso," he said.

Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert's office refused to comment on Nasrallah's statement, but commentators on Israeli evening newscasts were adamant that there were no unaccounted Israeli bodies from the fighting two summers ago.

"All the fallen soldiers have been buried," said Tzvika Yehezkeli, an Arab affairs analyst for Channel 10. "His claims regarding a corpse are being denied in Israel, both in the defense establishment and other departments which dealt with the war. It is not true."

Nasrallah's comments appeared aimed at adding pressure on Israel to speed up negotiations for a prisoner swap.

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