Hezbollah leader Sheik Hassan Nasrallah hinted Friday his group might be forced to kidnap Israel soldiers to win the release of three Lebanese prisoners held by Israel.
‘When we fail in negotiations, and that should be determined soon, we will only have one choice left in front of is.’ Nasrallah said in a ceremony commemorating the 26th anniversary of the capture of Samir Kantar, Israel’s longest-held Lebanese prisoner.
Kantar has been in an Israeli prison since 1979 after he was captured in a military operation in which three Israelis were killed.
Israel has linked the release of Kantar with receiving information about Ron Arad, an Israeli navigator whose plane was shot down over Lebanon in 1986.
Nasrallah said that his party is seeking information on the fate of Arad, but ‘strongly rejected’ linking the release of Lebanese prisoners to the Israeli pilot.
‘If we are able to get something about Arad that opens the way for a solution then this is good, but we refuse to link the fate of brothers that exist with a human being whose fate is unknown.’ He said.
The other two Lebanese, who are held by Israel, are: Nasim Nisr, a Lebanese-born Israeli captured for having contacts with Hezbollah, and Yehia Skaff, who was detained in 1978 following a military operation in which 35 Israelis were killed.
In January 2004, a prisoners’ swap took place between Israel and Hezbollah. Israeli army reserve colonel Elhanan Tannenbaum, who was taken into Hezbollah captivity in October 2000, was released in exchange to the release of 400 Arab prisoners.