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Hezbollah still talking on prisoner swap

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Hezbollah said it will continue pursuing mediated talks with Israel on a possible prisoner swap.

Hezbollah chief Sheik Hassan Nasrallah delivered an address Monday to mark 40 days since the assassination of his terror chief, Imad Mughniyeh, in Damascus. But he did not make any concrete threat of reprisals against Israel, which the Lebanese militia blames for the killing, despite Jerusalem’s denials.

“We will pick the time, the place, the punishment, the means and the method,” Nasrallah told supporters via video link from his hiding place, where he has largely confined himself since the 2006 Second Lebanon War for fear he could be on Israel’s hit list.

Signaling a return to a semblance of routine, Nasrallah said Hezbollah was still in indirect talks with Israel on repatriating two soldiers it seized in a border raid that triggered the war. Hezbollah has demanded that Israel in return free senior Arab terrorists from its jails.

“Meetings took place recently and we did not halt the talks,” he said.

The United Nations and Germany are acting as intermediaries in the swap talks, though there has been little indication of progress and many Israelis believe the abducted soldiers may be dead.

In his 90-minute speech, Nasrallah mocked Israeli leaders at length, claiming that the Second Lebanon War revealed the essential weakness of the Jewish state.

“The Zionist entity can be wiped out of existence,” he said, echoing statements by Iran, Hezbollah’s main patron.

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