Naqoura – Israel has released a Lebanese-born man ( to a Jewish Lebanese mother and a Shia father) who had served a six-year jail term on charges of spying for Hezbollah, the Lebanese Shia organization.
"The coffin will be examined and the body parts will be examined to determine whether they indeed belong to Israeli soldiers," the official said.
Lebanese army forces deployed in Naqoura around the time of Nissir’s transfer into Lebanon, while Hezbollah members blocked the entrance to the town.
The human remains handed over by Hezbollah to Israel are not those of two soldiers captured by Hezbollah in a 2006 cross-border raid, Amin said.
The raid sparked a fierce retaliation by the Israeli army against Hezbollah fighters in Lebanon in a 34-day war.
Nissir was arrested in 2002 and was subsequently sentenced to six years in prison for collaborating with Hezbollah.
He has an Israeli Jewish mother and a Lebanese Muslim father and held Israeli citizenship at the time of his arrest.
He first joined his mother’s family in Israel in 1982, during an Israeli invasion of Lebanon.
Nissir’s brother Mohammed said Nassim told him in a phone call a month ago that "his jailers had placed him in solitary confinement in a bid to persuade him to abandon his plans to return to Lebanon with his two daughters, who are Israeli citizens".
Observers are mixed over whether Nissir’s release can be seen as raising hopes for a broader prisoner exchange deal between Israel and Hezbollah.
Amin said speculation over a prisoner exchange had been fuelled by a recent statement made by Hezbollah’s secretary-general.
"Hassan Nasrallah, the leader of Hezbollah, said [last week] that he hoped Lebanese prisoners [in Israel] would soon be released," Amin said.
"Many people are hoping that Nissir’s release will be the beginning of a larger prisoner swap. From the speeches we heard here [in Naqoura]however, there was no such news."
"Clearly the Israeli government and indeed the Palestinian Authority in the West Bank are concerned about enhancing Nasrallah’s standing in this way."
Israeli army radio reported on Monday that Israel was prepared to free five Lebanese prisoners and return the bodies of 10 Hezbollah fighters in exchange for the two Israeli soldiers.
Nasim Nisr, a Lebanese man convicted in Israel of spying, gestures during a ceremony held by Hezbollah, in the south Lebanon coastal town of Naqoura on Sunday, June 1, 2008. Nisr was born to a Jewish Lebanese mother and a Shiite father. He was released Sunday after spending six years in prison in Israel on charges of spying for Hezollah