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Lebanon hails Nasrallah role in prisoner swap

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
Seyyed Hassan Nasrallah, the secretary general of Lebanon’s resistance movement Hezbollah (AFP)

Seyyed Hassan Nasrallah, the secretary general of Lebanon’s resistance movement Hezbollah, has been hailed for the role he played in facilitating the long-awaited release of 16 Lebanese servicemen from the captivity of the al-Nusra Front Takfiri terrorist group.

During a Tuesday ceremony in the Lebanese capital, Beirut, to welcome the 16 policemen and soldiers, Lebanon’s security chief said he appreciated Nasrallah’s role in a swap deal which saw the soldiers return to their homes.

“I won’t detail his (Nasrallah’s) role,” said Major General Abbas Ibrahim, commending the Hezbollah chief for facilitating the exchange of prisoners.

The soldiers were freed earlier in the day after more than a year in captivity. The al-Nusra Front, which along the Daesh Takfiri terrorists, controls areas in Arsal, a small Lebanese town near the border with Syria, kidnapped 37 servicemen in a blitz offensive in August 2014.

Eight of the captives were released earlier while four of them were killed by the al-Nusra terrorists in a bid to force the Lebanese government to release some Takfiri elements. In the Tuesday swap, Lebanon set free 13 of the militants in return for the release of the soldiers.

A member of Lebanon’s security forces, who was kidnapped by Takfiri groups in early August 2014 in the eastern border town of Arsal, celebrates his release during a ceremony in Beirut on December 1, 2015. (AFP photo)

During the ceremony and the following march in Beirut, some servicemen also thanked Nasrallah, saying the exchange of prisoners was a “victory” for the Hezbollah leader.

Hezbollah issued a statement, felicitating the release of the captives and expressing hope that a group of nine other servicemen, who are being held by Daesh, could be freed soon.

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