Israel and Lebanon’s Hezbollah group will exchange prisoners on Wednesday under a UN-mediated deal, Israel’s Prisons Service said on Sunday.
Lebanese security sources said last week that under the agreement, Israel will release five Lebanese prisoners and Hezbollah will hand over two Israeli soldiers seized in a cross-border raid that triggered the 2006 war between Israel and the Iranian-backed group, AFP reported.
Hezbollah has given no word on the condition of the two soldiers, although they are widely presumed dead.
A spokesman for the Prisons Service said the exchange would take place on Wednesday, but he declined to say where along the Israel-Lebanon border. Previous exchanges were made at the coastal Naqoura frontier crossing.
The Lebanese prisoners include Samir Qantar, who is serving a life sentence for killing an Israeli policeman.
As part of the deal, which was negotiated by a German intelligence officer, Israel will also hand over the bodies of 200 Arabs killed while infiltrating northern Israel. Hezbollah is to return body parts of Israeli soldiers killed in south Lebanon in 2006. Arad Believed Dead
Hezbollah has told Israel it does not know what happened to an airman missing for more than two decades but it believes he is dead, Israeli officials said on Saturday.
The report could clear the way for a prisoner swap between the two foes.
Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert received the Hezbollah report Saturday on the fate of Ron Arad, an airman missing since he was captured alive after his fighter jet went down over Lebanon in 1986.
Israel officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity because no official announcement was released, said Hezbollah told Israel in the report it did not know what happened to Arad but believes he is dead.