Israel Frees 3 Lebanese It Abducted
Israel freed three kidnaped Lebanese civilians in south Lebanon Saturday nearly 36 hours after its commandos grabbed the wrong men.
The three, including part-time Reuters correspondent Shawki Fahs, were handed to the International Committee of the Red Cross in Israel’s security zone in south Lebanon.
Unshaven and haggard after questioning in Israel, Fahs, 43, shepherd Hassan Zhour, and Kamel Nahal, who works for a TV company, hugged relatives when they reached home.
It was a bitter homecoming for Nahal. His two sons and another child were killed when a booby-trapped flashlight they found at the scene of the abduction exploded as they played with it.
Lebanese security sources said the device was planted by the Israelis, but Israel denied that allegation.
The three men were seized Thursday night by helicopter-borne commandos near Jibsheet.
The Israeli army said Friday had seized the three as “terrorist suspects.”
Lebanese security sources and Western diplomats said the Israelis were hunting leaders of the pro-Iranian Hezbollah but kidnaped innocent civilians by mistake.