IDF: Troops Killed Top Hezbollah Man Minutes Before Cease-fire

Commander identified as Sajed Dawayer; earlier, a Hezbollah's deputy head said no leaders were killed in war.

Israel Defense Forces troops killed a senior Hezbollah leader just before the UN cease-fire took effect, the army said Wednesday.

GOC Northern Command Udi Adam said IDF forces killed the head of Hezbollah's special forces, identified as Sajed Dawayer, during clashes in Bint Jbail. There was no immediate confirmation from Lebanon.

The IDF said Dawayer was killed moments before the cease fire went into effect at 8 A.M. Monday morning. Both sides continued attacks right up until the last minute.

A Hezbollah official in the southern Lebanese port city of Sidon dismissed the IDF report as "baseless," saying he had not heard of a Hezbollah military leader named Sajed Dawayer. Speaking on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to talk to the press, he said Hezbollah might issue a denial of the Israeli report later Wednesday.

During the fighting Israel Air Force planes bombed southern Beirut dozens of times, attempting to hit Hezbollah leaders.

Earlier Tuesday, a senior Hezbollah official said that no member of Hezbollah's top leadership was killed in Israeli attacks against Lebanon during the war.

"Thank God, no one in a leadership position has been martyred ... even though we hope to be martyrs one day," said Sheik Naim Kassem, Hezbollah's deputy leader.

Kassem spoke in an interview with Hezbollah's Al-Manar TV station, his first appearance since the start of the Israel-Hezbollah war on July 12.

Israel said its forces have killed hundreds of Hezbollah guerrillas, but the group said about 70 members were killed.

Kassem said Hezbollah scored a "strategic victory" against Israel in the war.