MSNBC is reporting that on a TV interview Hezbollah leader Sheik Hassan Nasrallah would not have ordered the kidnapping of two Israeli soldiers if he had known that it would cause the armed conflict that it did.
“We did not think, even 1 percent, that the capture would lead to a war at this time and of this magnitude. You ask me, if I had known on July 11 ... that the operation would lead to such a war, would I do it? I say no, absolutely not,” he said in an interview with Lebanon’s New TV station.
Nasrallah also said the United Nations and Italy already had initiated “contacts” about beginning negotiations on a prisoner swap.
Israeli officials have been refusing to comment on the record about the prospects of a prisoner exchange, citing the extreme sensitivity of the issue.
But military officials said earlier this month that Israel is holding 13 Hezbollah prisoners and the bodies of dozens of guerrillas that it could swap for the two captive soldiers, but would not include any Palestinian prisoners in such a deal.
“The Israelis have acknowledged that this (issue) is headed for negotiations and a (prisoners) exchange,” he said. “Contacts recently began for negotiations.”-- MSNBC