Factbox: Lopsided Israeli prisoner release deals of the past

JERUSALEM Tue Oct 11, 2011 4:12pm EDT

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JERUSALEM (Reuters) - Israel and Islamist group Hamas have agreed to swap hundreds of Palestinian prisoners for the lone captive Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit, resolving one of the most emotive and intractable issues between them.

Here is a chronology of lopsided swaps of prisoners and the bodies of war dead between Israel and the Arabs since 1982:

1983 - Israel frees 4,600 Arab detainees in return for six Israeli soldiers held in Lebanon.

June 1984 - Israel swaps 291 Syrians captured in battle and the remains of 72 Syrians for six Israelis and five bodies, only two of which are positively identified as Israelis. Israel also frees 20 Arab civilians held for spying and security offences.

May 1985 - Israel releases 1,150 Arab prisoners in exchange for three Israel soldiers held by the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine-General Command. The deal took almost nine months to negotiate.

June-July 1985 - Israel frees 331 Lebanese Shi'ite detainees. Shi'ite leaders say their freedom was guaranteed in exchange for the return of 39 foreign passengers hijacked in an American TWA airliner to Beirut. Israel denies a connection.

July 1996 - Hizbollah and Israel carry out a German-brokered swap when the bodies of 123 guerrillas are returned to Lebanon in exchange for the remains of two Israeli soldiers.

- Hizbollah also frees 17 fighters of the Israeli-backed South Lebanon Army (SLA) militia, which in turn frees 45 Lebanese captives.

January 2004 - Israel releases 436 Palestinian and other Arab prisoners in a deal with Hizbollah for the return of Elhanan Tannenbaum, an Israeli businessman, and three dead Israeli soldiers abducted on a border patrol in 2000.

July 2008 - In return for releasing five men, Israel recovered from Hizbollah the bodies of two of its soldiers, captured in a 2006 cross-border raid that triggered a 34-day war with the Iranian-backed group.

(Writing by David Cutler, London Editorial Reference Unit)

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