Israel is also handing over the remains of some 200 Lebanese and Palestinian fighters killed in northern Israel. The exchange is being mediated by the International Committee of the Red Cross.
'Moral obligation' Lebanon has declared a national holiday to mark the swap, after which Israel will hold no more Hezbollah militants.
Under the deal - the fruit of two years of delicate German mediation - Hezbollah is also to return the body parts of Israeli soldiers killed in south Lebanon in 2006.
The agreement has caused controversy in Israel, with some ministers opposed to the possibility of exchanging live Hezbollah prisoners for dead bodies.
But Israel says it has a moral obligation to bring its soldiers home. Israel's cabinet gave its final approval for the prisoner exchange on Tuesday. The Lebanese prisoners being freed include Samir Qantar, in jail since 1979 for a deadly gu
Tags: Israel, Lebanon, Hezbollah, Hizbullah, prisoner swap, Dead soldiers, Iranian expansion, Invasion of israel, 2006, lebanon war, Hezbollah invasion of israel.
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