The Daily Star:
Five Lebanese prisoners freed by Israel arrived to a hero's welcome in Lebanon Wednesday, hours after Hizbullah handed over the bodies of two Israeli soldiers seized two years ago.
Among those freed in a prisoner swap greeted with triumph in Lebanon but anguish in Israel was Samir Kontar, who was sentenced to five life terms for a a deadly raid in 1979. The prisoners were transported to Lebanon in a convoy of four International Committee of the Red Cross vehicles via the Naqoura border crossing, where they were cheered and applauded by crowds of Hizbullah supporters who had been waiting all day for their arrival. They were then flown by helicopters to Beirut, where they were accorded a red-carpet welcome by Lebanese President Michel Sleiman, Prime Minister Fouad Siniora, Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri, the entire Cabinet and a host of lawmakers and religious leaders. The five - Kontar and Hizbullah fighters Khaled Zidan, Maher Kourani, Mohammad Srour and Hussein Suleiman - stood on a platform as Sleiman spoke before shaking hands with politicians lined up to greet them.
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