Former Cellmate Says Samir Kuntar Never Meant to Kill Anyone

Man who shared prison cell with Lebanese terrorist slated for release said he expressed no remorse.

The former cellmate of the Lebanese prisoner Samir Kuntar, who is slated to be released from Israeli prison in the upcoming prisoner swap with Hezbollah, said on Monday that the convicted terrorist has "never expressed remorse, but maintains a completely different version [of the events] than the Israeli one."

Former security prisoner Yasser Hanjar, of the Golan Heights village of Majdal Shams, served time in 1999, and for eight months shared a cell with Kuntar. He was convicted of participating in the 1979 terror attack in Naharyia, in which two members of the Haran family, as well as two Israeli policemen, were killed.

Hanjar recalled a time when Kuntar told him his version of the events.

"Samir said it was his sincere belief in the armed struggle against Israel that motivated him to undertake the mission," he said.

However, Hanjar continued, "he said he had no intention of killing anyone. He wanted to take Israelis hostage, and certainly not kill them."

He also said Kuntar firmly rejected allegations he had smashed the head of 4-year-old Einat Haran, one of his victims.

"This is the Israeli version," he quoted Kuntar.

"I was surprised to meet a man, who after 30 years in prison was still optimistic," he continued. "He hadn't seen his family for 30 years, but despite that he radiated optimism and confidence. He felt it was part of his inner truth, in order not to lose face."

Hanjar also said Kuntar has a solid political worldview. "He believes that the ultimate goal is dialogue with Israel," he said.

He said Kuntar believes every armed struggle should facilitate a diplomatic process. "The main issue for him, though, was how to conduct this process and based on which principles," Hanjar said.