Israel repatriated a Lebanese immigrant imprisoned for espionage, and Hezbollah said it was handing over remains of Israeli soldiers.
Nissim Nasser, a Lebanese Jew who became an Israeli citizen but was jailed in 2002 as a Hezbollah spy, left prison Sunday. He was driven to the Lebanese border and crossed to a hero’s welcome organized by the Shiite militia.
Israeli officials denied that Nasser, who had completed a six-year term behind bars, was released as part of German-mediated efforts to put together a prisoner swap with Hezbollah. But in apparent repayment for Nasser’s return, Hezbollah delivered to the Red Cross a box that it said contained the remains of Israeli soldiers killed in the Second Lebanon War.
Jerusalem declined immediate comment on the box, which was expected to undergo DNA testing in Israel.
On Jan. 19, Hezbollah chief Sheik Hassan Nasrallah announced that his group had body parts from at least two soldiers.
Israel condemned the speech, which appeared to be part of an effort by Nasrallah to speed up talks on the return of Ehud Goldwasser and Eldad Regev, two Israeli soldiers whose abduction by the Lebanese militia sparked the 2006 war.
Nasser was born to a Shiite father and Jewish mother, who later converted to Islam.