Gee, didn’t see that coming. “Freed Lebanese prisoners vow to fight Israel,” by Zeina Karam for the Associated Press July 17:
BEIRUT, Lebanon – Five militants freed in a prisoner swap with Israel prayed and laid wreaths at the grave of a slain Hezbollah commander Thursday, vowing to fight Israel as supporters showered them with rice.
Eight tractor-trailers loaded with coffins carrying the remains of 199 Lebanese and Palestinian fighters returned by Israel in the swap made their way from south Lebanon to the capital Beirut. Villagers showered rice and rose petals on the coffins wrapped in Lebanese and Hezbollah flags and covered with flowers. A banner on one of the red and yellow trucks read, “The Martyrs of Victory.”
The vehicles were stopped often along the route by throngs of supporters, some of them women relatives in black headscarves and clothing who held up pictures of those killed in fighting with Israel over the past three decades.
In Beirut, the five freed prisoners dressed in military fatigues walked a red carpet laid out for them to the grave of Imad Mughniyeh, a shadowy figure Israel and the West accused of masterminding terrorist bombings in the 1980s and 1990s. He was killed in a car bomb in neighboring Syria in February which Hezbollah blamed on Israel. Israel denied it.
“We swear by God … to continue on your same path and not to retreat until we achieve the same stature that God bestowed on you,” said Samir Kantar, who had been the longest-held Lebanese prisoner in Israel.
He referred to Mughniyeh’s “martyrdom,” saying, “This is our great wish. We envy you and we will achieve it, God willing.” […]
Later in the day, hundreds of people welcomed Kantar in his hometown of Abey, a mountain hamlet 10 miles south of Beirut.
“This time yesterday, I was in the hands of the enemy. But at this moment, I am yearning more than before to confront them,” Kantar said.