Hezbollah starts receiving coffins carrying its "martyrs"

Other News Materials 16 July 2008 16:40 (UTC +04:00)

The Lebanese Shiite Hezbollah movement on Wednesday began unloading the remains of seven of its fighters from Red Cross trucks at Lebanon's border with Israel.

Dozens of Hezbollah men carried the wooden coffins of their dead "martyrs" who fell during the July 2006 war.

Israel on Wednesday handed over the remains of the seven as well as those of Dalal al-Moghrabi, the female Palestinian militant who carried out a deadly attack in Israel in March 1978 in which more 30 Israelis were killed.

The coffins were lined up under a tent at the border crossing of known to Lebanese as Naqoura and Israelis as Rosh Ha'Nikra Naqoura.

A symbolic ceremony to honour the fighters and five Lebanese prisoners due for release later Wednesday was due to take place on the Lebanese side of the border.

Hezbollah officials at the scene were seen signing papers presented by the Red Cross, to confirm they have received the bodies.

A Hezbollah source told Deutsche Presse-Agentur dpa, that the car carrying the five live Lebanese prisoners was enroute from northern Israel into the Naqoura.

"They should be now with the German UN mediator who is at the scene between the border of Israel and Lebanon," the source said.

ICRC officials were seen preparing themselves for the handing over of the live five prisoners - Israel's longest-held Lebanese prisoner Samir Kuntar and four fighters captured during the July-August 2006 war - Khodor Zaidan, Maher Kourani, Mohammed Srour and Hussein Suleiman.