IS Hands Over Bodies of Soldier, Civilian Killed in 2014 after 'Jumblat Initiative'إقرأ هذا الخبر بالعربية
The Islamic State handed to Lebanese authorities the corpse of a soldier, who was killed in last year's battle in Arsal, and one of a civilian who was killed in the northeastern border town's outskirts, reported the National News Agency on Friday.
It said that soldier Ali al-Ali was killed on August 2 during the clashes between the army and jihadists from the IS and al-Qaida-affiliated al-Nusra Front when they overran Arsal.
He hails from the Bekaa town of al-Khraybeh.
The civilian, identified as Mamdouh Younes, was killed by the IS on the outskirts of Arsal in August as well, added NNA.
He hails from the eastern Bekaa town of Brital, reported Voice of Lebanon radio (100.5).
The handover of the corpses is part of a deal to release the servicemen who were abducted by the extremist groups in the wake of the Arsal clashes, reported NNA.
The corpses were transferred to a General Security mediator in Arsal, Voice of Lebanon radio (93.3) said.
NNA later on Friday said that the two bodies were handed over to the northern Bekaa army intelligence department.
“The two corpses were transferred in two ambulances to the Military Hospital (in Beirut) for DNA testing,” the agency added.
It said the families of the two men were asked to head to Beirut to give DNA samples.
LBCI television meanwhile said negotiations with the IS had started three days ago following an initiative by Progressive Socialist Party leader MP Walid Jumblat and in coordination with General Security chief Abbas Ibrahim, Army chief Jean Qahwaji and army intelligence director Edmond Fadel.
Health Minister Wael Abou Faour, at Jumblat's instructions, “began direct, intensive negotiations with the IS through local mediators, which resulted this morning in the handing over of the bodies,” LBCI said.
“The two bodies were transferred in a Health Ministry ambulance and the martyr soldier's corpse was then moved to an army ambulance,” the TV network explained.
It pointed out that “the handing over of the two bodies opened the door for positive negotiations with the IS over the hostage servicemen” who are in its custody.
Ali's father had earlier told LBCI television: “General Security chief Abbas Ibrahim informed us four months ago of efforts to hand over his corpse.”
“We believe he died for his nation,” he remarked.
In August, the army engaged in clashes with the IS and al-Nusra Front in Arsal when the Syria-based jihadists overran the town.
The groups abducted in the wake of the fighting a number of Lebanese servicemen.
A few of them have since been released, four were executed, while the rest remain held.
In April, al-Nusra Front handed over to Lebanon the body of Lebanese policeman Ali al-Bazzal, who was executed late last year.