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Israeli Cabinet Approves Prisoner Swap with Hizbullah

The Israeli cabinet approved a controversial four-stage prisoner swap with Hizbullah on Sunday. Key to the deal is the repatriation of the two soldiers whose kidnapping in July 2006 triggered the 34-day war between Israel and Hizbullah. It is not known whether the two are alive or dead, and their return will take place only in the third stage of the deal. The deal will also see the release of Samir Kuntar, who carried out one the most infamous terror attacks in 1979, murdering three members of an Israeli family and a policeman in the northern coastal city of Nahariya. Hizbullah is already declaring the deal a great victory and plans are being made for the initial phase to be held on July 12, the anniversary of the war. The deal was brokered by a German mediator. Also included in the deal is a report prepared by Hizbullah detailing efforts to locate Israeli airman Ron Arad or his remains. Arad was the navigator of a fighter jet shot down over Lebanon in 1986. He was never seen again. Israel will provide Hizbullah with a report concerning the fate of four Iranian diplomats who disappeared in 1982 during the first war in Lebanon. They were believed to have been murdered by Israel‘s Christian Falange allies.