updated 9/4/2006 12:19:43 AM ET 2006-09-04T04:19:43

Hezbollah announced Saturday the death of a military commander from wounds suffered in monthlong fighting with Israel, the highest-ranking guerrilla the group admits losing in the war.

“The commander Hajj Ali Mohammed Saleh Bilal was martyred from wounds he sustained in the confrontations,” the group said in a statement carried on Hezbollah’s al-Manar TV.

It did not give his rank other than commander, meaning he was from the military wing.

Lebanese security officials, speaking on condition of anonymity, said Bilal was a sector military commander, but had no further details.

Before the announcement, Hezbollah had acknowledged losing 68 fighters out of more than 800 Lebanese killed in the fighting. Most of the rest are civilians.

Israel has said it killed hundreds of guerrillas.

Hezbollah officials have said none of the top leadership was hurt. Naim Kassem, the deputy Hezbollah leader, has said in interviews that his son was badly wounded.

Israel’s 34-day offensive on Lebanon was set off when Hezbollah guerrillas captured two Israeli soldiers in a cross-border raid July 12.

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