Hundreds of people in Lebanon have welcomed the arrival of five former
prisoners in the capital, Beirut, following their release from Israel
as part of a prisoner exchange.
The five arrived at Beirut's airport on Wednesday for
an official red carpet welcome from Lebanese President Michel Suleiman,
Prime Minister Fuad Siniora and other government and religious leaders.
The leader of the Lebanese militant group Hezbollah, Hassan Nasrallah,
made a rare public appearance at the rally in Beirut to greet the
former prisoners. He said the age of defeat is over, and the time of
victory is now. As part of the prisoner exchange, Hezbollah handed over
the remains of two Israeli soldiers captured in a
cross-border attack in 2006.
The soldiers' fates had long been uncertain, but it was only today that
Hezbollah security official Wafik Safa confirmed they were dead.
Family and friends who had gathered at the soldiers' homes were
grief-stricken by the news.