Israel identifies remains received from Hezbollah


Israel confirmed that body parts received from Hezbollah belong to Israeli military servicemen killed in the Second Lebanon War.

Military sources said Tuesday that DNA testing performed on human remains repatriated from Lebanon determined that they came from a four-man air crew whose helicopter was shot down by Hezbollah during the 2006 war and an infantryman hit by a missile in a separate battle.

Hezbollah handed over the body parts Sunday after Israel freed a Lebanese-born Jew who had completed a prison term for spying.

Hezbollah described the exchange as a prelude to a bigger deal in which Israel would release an unspecified number of jailed Arab terrorists and retrieve two soldiers abducted in July 2006.

Israel has not commented other than to say that recently there has been progress in the German-mediated prisoner-swap talks.

Many Israeli experts have urged the Olmert government not to treat the human remains as part of a deal with Hezbollah, as the militia is believed to have more on hand and may try to extort a better trade.

Nine soldiers killed in the 2006 war were not buried intact, Israeli sources said.


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