TYRE, Lebanon, Aug 5, 2006 (AFP) - Israeli helicopters struck the southern Lebanese city of Tyre Saturday in a dawn raid that Hezbollah said was a failed attempt to land commandos which left one Israeli dead.
Police said the Israeli helicopters fired four missiles on Tyre's northern outskirts, provoking a barrage of anti-aircraft fire.
A large group of helicopters had roared over Tyre before dawn, spraying all the routes leading into the city with machine gunfire, police added.
A Hezbollah official, who declined to be named, told AFP that an Israeli helicopter landed at Jall al-Bahr, an area of orchards at Tyre's northern entrance and then fell victim to a Hezbollah "ambush".
"A member of the commando group was killed and three others wounded," the official said.
Residents said the exchanges of fire sparked panic in the area. A clinic in the north of Tyre said it moved its patients to the basement for their own safety.
"It was a real battle," said a doctor from the clinic, who declined to be named.
The operation was preceded by intense bombardments of dozens of villages south and east of Tyre which have been largely deserted by their inhabitants.-AFP