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News Brief


The Israeli-Hezbollah prisoner swap is moving ahead in stages.

Israeli negotiator Ofer Dekel flew home Monday from Europe, where he signed the prisoner-swap agreement secured by a U.N.-appointed German mediator.

Hezbollah had signed separately on the deal, under which two Israeli soldiers held by the Iranian-sponsored militia since July 2006 and believed to be dead will be repatriated and Israel will free five jailed Lebanese terrorists.

The handover is expected to take place within two weeks, though there are further preliminary stages.

Jerusalem expects in the coming days to receive a report by Hezbollah on its failed efforts to locate Ron Arad, an Israeli airman who went missing in Lebanon in 1986.

In turn, Israel has presented Hezbollah with a report on four Iranian diplomats who disappeared during the 1982 Israeli invasion of Lebanon.

In northern Israel, meanwhile, military rabbis unearthed the remains of dozens of slain Lebanese infiltrators, which will also be returned under the deal.

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