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Last Updated: Wednesday, 12 November, 2003, 22:45 GMT
Hezbollah 'held' Israeli pilot
Ron Arad
Ron Arad's plane was shot down in 1986 in Lebanon
The wife of an imprisoned Hezbollah leader has spoken of the time she and her husband held a missing Israeli airman in Lebanon in the 1980s.

Zeinab Amin Dirani, wife of Mustafa Dirani, said Ron Arad was injured when his plane was shot down in Lebanon.

She told the BBC he was treated at her home and even played with her son, who was of a similar age to his daughter.

Israel seized Mr Dirani to secure Mr Arad's release, but nothing has been heard of the airman for 15 years.

Mr Dirani is among hundreds of Arab prisoners Israel has been negotiating to free in exchange for an Israeli businessman held by Hezbollah and the bodies of three Israeli soldiers.

Israel has also demanded information about the fate of Mr Arad.

But on Monday, Hezbollah rejected an Israeli offer of a prisoner exchange.

The group's leader, Hassan Nasrallah, said any exchange had to include Samir Kantar, jailed for 24 years for killing an Israeli family

The Israeli Government agreed to hand over about 20 Lebanese and 400 Palestinian prisoners, but Prime Minister Ariel Sharon specifically rejected releasing Kantar.

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