Israel to release 4 Lebanese activists, keep 1 imprisoned


The International Committee of the Red Cross said Israel will deport four of five Lebanese activists detained after its navy commandos seized a Gaza-bound aid flotilla in an attack that left nine people killed. It said the deportation will take place at 7:00pm Wednesday at the Naqoura border crossing point.

Al-Manar quoted a Lebanese security source as saying Israel on Wednesday will release all the Lebanese activists but Dr. Hani Suleiman “who will be questioned on charges of resisting occupation forces on board the ship.”

Israel has postponed the deportation of the Lebanese activists who were supposed to have been set free on late Tuesday.

Local media had earlier said UNIFIL informed the Lebanese army that Israel wants to delay the deportation of Dr. Suleiman, head of the Lebanese mission to the Freedom Fleet, news reporter Abbas Nasser, photographer Andre Abi Khalil, and activists Hussein Shokr and Nabil Hallak, coordinator of the national committee to break the siege on Gaza.

Three of the activists – Nasser, Khalil and Shokr — were set to be deported late Tuesday-Wednesday evening.

They were supposed to be handed over to UNIFIL at the Naqoura border crossing point.

The daily As-Safir daily on Wednesday said Israel wanted to keep Dr. Suleiman under the excuse that he needs to stay at hospital after he was wounded in his leg during the attack on the Freedom Fleet.

Suleiman, the newspaper said, has refused to be treated at an Israeli hospital.

As for Hallak, Israel first denied any knowledge of his whereabouts, claiming he was not on the list of Lebanese detainees.

When Israel was told Hallak carried an Irish passport, the Jewish state said it wanted “some time” to determine his whereabouts.

Al-Manar, according to the Lebanese security source, said Israel has decided to release Hallak no matter what passport he was holding.

As-Safir said Speaker Nabih Berri rejected Israel’s decision to deport Lebanese activists via Jordan and demanded that they be handed over at Naqoura.