Monday, August 07, 2006

Dyin' ain't much of a living boy!

Yahoo! News - Israel's army released a video Monday purporting to show the interrogation of a Hezbollah fighter acknowledging his part in the raid on an Israeli army patrol July 12 — the spark that ignited the current conflict in Lebanon.

In the video, Hussein Ali Suleiman, 22, said the seizure of the two Israelis was the second time he had taken part in such an attempt, following an unsuccessful raid in 2005. He also spoke about training in Iran.

The tape shown on Israeli television appeared to be heavily edited, and some answers were cut off in mid-sentence. He appeared to have light bruises or wounds on his cheeks and lips.

Israel announced his capture Sunday, although it was not clear when he fell into Israeli hands. Separate television footage showed him in the custody of soldiers in the field with his arms bound and a large cloth covering his eyes.

In the video, Suleiman said he joined the Islamic militia when he was 15 and received four rounds of training before he took part in an attempt to seize Israeli soldiers.

Israel says Hezbollah has tried repeatedly to capture Israelis to barter for the release of prisoners from Israeli jails. In early 2004, Hezbollah swapped an Israeli businessman kidnapped in Europe and the bodies of three Israeli soldiers for hundreds of Arab prisoners and scores of guerrilla corpses.

Speaking in Arabic, Suleiman told his interrogators he attended military maneuvers in Iran with 40 or 50 other Hezbollah guerrillas in 2003. He gave no details on the parts of the tape made public.

He said the trainees drove from Beirut to the Syrian capital, Damascus, in Hezbollah cars and from there took a special flight to Iran without passing through passport control.

Suleiman said his first operation was in late 2005, apparently an attempt to take Israeli prisoners. His task was to manage anti-tank missiles.

Asked if the operation failed, he said: "It had other aims. The main aim didn't go well, but the secondary aim was to direct a severe blow to the (Israeli) posts."

The tape showed Suleiman speaking briefly about the July 12 cross-border operation in which his unit killed three Israelis and took two others with them to Lebanon. His job was to cut the access routes to the patrol, he said before the tape abruptly cut off.

In 1998, Suleiman said he attended night school for 1 1/2 months, a "soldiers course" that involved classes in Islamic law and jurisprudence.

He said he received his next training after Israel ended its 18-year occupation of south Lebanon in 2000, a 45-day "fighter" course that involved weapons training, sabotage and communications. Four months later, he trained on anti-tank weapons and underwent more training several months later.