Lebanese aboard Flotilla welcomed home as heroes

Four Lebanese activists detained during an Israeli raid on a Gaza-bound humanitarian aid arrived at the Lebanese border to a hero’s welcome.

A huge crowd, waving the Lebanese, Palestinian and Turkish flags threw rice and flowers as Abbas Nasser, Hussein Shukur, Andre Abi Khalil and Hani Suleiman crossed the border at Naqoura around 10:30 pm Wednesday.

Representatives of President Michel Suleiman, Prime Minister Saad Hariri and Speaker Nabih Berri as well as Hizbullah MPs were also present.

The men, looking tired, were handed over by Israel to the International Committee of the Red Cross late Wednesday.

Lebanese lawyer Hani Suleiman, who was wounded when Israel seized an aid convoy he was on that was bound for Gaza, flashes victory upon his arrival in Naqoura area near the border with Israel in south Lebanon June 2, 2010. REUTERS/Ali Hashisho

Suleiman, who headed the Lebanese mission to the Freedom Fleet, suffered a gunshot wound to his foot. He arrived at Naqoura in an ambulance.

Al-Jazeera television correspondent Abbas Naser of Lebanon (C), who was on board an aid convoy bound for Gaza that was seized by Israel, carries his daughter upon arriving in Naqoura area near the border with Israel in south Lebanon June 2, 2010. REUTERS/Haidar Hawila

“We hear a lot about Israeli brutality, but when you see it close up it’s a different story,” said Nasser, who works as a news reporter for Al-Jazeera satellite channel.

He told reporters that he saw “hundreds of soldiers armed to the teeth.”

Abi Khalil is Jazeera’s photographer.

Lebanese Hussein Shoukor, who was on board an aid convoy bound for Gaza that was seized by Israel, smiles upon his arrival in Naqoura area near the border with Israel in south Lebanon June 2, 2010. REUTERS/ Haidar Hawila

“I was able to tell the Zionists face to face that ‘you murdered my children,'” said Shukur whose wife and children were killed in an Israeli air raid during the summer 2006 war on Lebanon.

An-Nahar newspaper said a fifth Lebanese activist, Nabil Hallak, will be handed over to the Irish embassy in Tel Aviv, given that he holds both the Lebanese and Irish nationalities.

Lebanese and Palestinians march in a protest along the border with Israel during an anti-Israel protest in Kfar Kila village in south Lebanon June 2, 2010. REUTERS/ Karamallah Daher
Israeli soldiers film during an anti-Israel protest in Kfar Kila village along the border with Israel in south Lebanon June 2, 2010. REUTERS/Karamallah Daher