Israel released convicted Hizbullah spy Nissim Nasser on Sunday morning – and in return, received a box allegedly containing body parts of Israeli soldiers.

Hizbullah spokesman Wafik Safa made the announcement on the terrorist group's Al-Manar television network, standing next to a brown box which he said contained the remains. Nassar was shown standing next to Safa.

"We today are handing over some of the remains of a number of Israeli soldiers who were killed in the July war and who the Israeli army left in Lebanon," said the Hizbullah spokesman, upon Nasser's arrival.

The Hizbullah spy was transferred by Israeli officials to representatives from the Red Cross and UNIFIL at the Rosh Hanikra crossing on the border with Lebanon earlier in the day.

Nasser was born to a Jewish woman but later converted to Islam. He immigrated to Israel in 1991 under the Law of Return, but said he eventually decided to spy for Hizbullah because he considered himself to be a "Lebanese patriot and a Muslim." He relinquished his Israeli citizenship as part of the deal to be returned to Lebanon.

The International Red Cross Association confirmed shortly after 12:00 noon that its officials had received a box containing remains of IDF soldiers who fell in battle during the 2006 Second Lebanon War.

The box was placed in a Red Cross vehicle for transfer to the IDF Chief Rabbinate, which was to bring the remains to the Abu Kabir Forensic Institute for DNA testing.

IDF Maj.-Gen. Elazar Stern, head of the army's Human Resources directorate, appointed a team to contact the families of fallen soldiers with updates on developments relating to the remains.

Nasser, a 41-year-old Lebanese national, had completed his six-year prison term but continued to be held in administrative detention, at the Nitzan Detention Center. There has been speculation that officials were hoping to use the Lebanese convict as a bargaining chip in negotiations for the return of kidnapped IDF reservists Ehud Goldwasser and Eldad Regev.

The Prime Minister's Office, however, has denied any connection between the timing of Nasser's release and any possible deal to return Goldwasser and Regev.

Zvi Regev: 'All We Have is Hope'

Zvi Regev, father of kidnapped IDF reservist Eldad Regev said he was not encouraged by the return of a box of body parts of Israeli soldiers by Hizbullah terrorists in exchange for the freedom of a live spy.


Regev, whose son Eldad was kidnapped with fellow reservist Ehud Goldwasser by Hizbullah terrorists along the northern border at the outset of the Second Lebanon War on July 12, 2006, said he had not been updated by Israeli officials on the exchange.


"Since we have not been informed of anything, I have nothing to be encouraged about," he told Ynet. "I haven't heard about it. I wish it were part of progress and that we will see the boys at home, but at this stage, all we have is hope."