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Berri Wants to Negotiate Israeli Pilot Swap for Palestinian Prisoners

October 18, 1986

DAMASCUS, Syria (AP) _ Lebanese Shiite Moslem leader Nabih Berri, without confirming that his Amal militiamen are holding an Israeli airman, said today he would negotiate the captive’s release for the freeing of Israeli-held prisoners.

Berri did not say Amal actually holds the pilot, but said, ″In case such reports were true, then I plan to negotiate the swap of this Israeli pilot for Lebanese and Palestinian prisoners held in Israeli jails.″

Berri, who is also Lebanon’s justice minister, spoke to reporters here after talks with Syrian Prime Minister Abdul Raouf Kasm.

Amal claims it captured an Israeli pilot after his F-4E Phantom jet was shot down Thursday near Sidon in southern Lebanon. The militia has said the pilot had a broken arm but has refused to say where he was being held.

Airborne Israeli troops rescued the other F-4E crewman by helicopter.

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