A senior Hizbullah official said Friday that around 250 members of the guerrilla group were killed in the summer war with Israel, the highest toll acknowledged by the Shi'ite Muslim movement.
Mahmoud Komati, deputy chief of Hizbullah's politburo, dismissed Israeli claims that hundreds more Hizbullah fighters were killed, saying the group does not hide its casualties. "We are proud of our martyrs," he told The Associated Press.
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He estimated that around 250 guerrillas were killed in the July 12-August 14 fighting with IDF forces.
Israel has contended that 800 guerrillas died in the war. On Friday, Israeli government spokeswoman Miri Eisin revised that estimate, saying, "We think that it's closer to 600."
She denied the count issued by Komati, saying, "It just goes to show that slowly they'll let out the truth. And we hope that everyone will take notice that Hizbullah is trying to hide its losses and will in time see that many more Hizbullah fighters were killed."
A tally compiled by the AP from Hizbullah and police reports during the war put the guerrillas losses at 70 dead.
Lebanon's Higher Relief Council, a government agency that handles humanitarian crises, has said 1,191 people were killed in Lebanon, mostly civilians, before fighting ended with a UN-brokered ceasefire. An official Lebanese police report put the toll at 1,100. The figures are based on reports from hospitals and morgues around the country.
Israel said the 34-day fighting killed 159 Israelis, including 39 civilians.