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Hezbollah claims shooting down Israeli helicopter

Hezbollah said on Saturday its guerrillas shot down an Israeli military helicopter in southern Lebanon.

india Updated: Aug 13, 2006 04:46 IST

Hezbollah said on Saturday its guerrillas shot down an Israeli military helicopter in southern Lebanon. The Israeli army confirmed the shootdown and said there were an unspecified number of wounded.

The aircraft was shot down in the Maryamein valley near the village of Yater, and other helicopters scrambled to the area to try to rescue the crew.

The Hezbollah claim, carried on Hezbollah's al-Manar TV, said they helicopter was brought down by a new missile, the "Waad" (Arabic for Promise) in the guerrilla arsenal. Israel's Channel 10 TV reported the helicopter brought down by anti-tank missile.

The area had seen heavy ground combat on Saturday during which hundreds of Israeli troops were airlifted to positions deep inside southern Lebanon and tanks punched across terrain in an attempt to grab more territory before an expected cessation of hostilities Monday morning.

It was Israel's first loss of a helicopter in Lebanon in the month-long conflict. Two helicopters collided and crashed and a third crashed separately in northern Israel early on in the fighting.

Hezbollah guerrillas have crippled an Israeli warship with a missile on July 15.