Hezbollah guerrillas unleashed a deadly rocket barrage Friday on northern Israel after one of their senior commanders was killed in Israeli air raids on southern Lebanon.
A 17-year-old Israeli died when a Katyusha rocket fired from Lebanon struck him as he jogged along the beach in a northern town, Israeli radio reports said. At least nine others were wounded.Israeli military censors would not permit the town to be named.
Israeli leaders vowed to retaliate against the Shiite Muslim guerrillas responsible for the attack.
"I think this was a very serious violation which requires retaliation," Benjamin Ben-Eliezer, Israel's housing minister, said on Israel TV.
Israel radio reported that after the Katyushas hit, Israel responded with more air raids in southern Lebanon and residents of northern Israel were asked to spend the night in underground bomb shelters.
The flare-up along the Israeli-Lebanese frontier threatened delicate peace talks between Israel and Syria that resumed earlier this month. Israel holds Syria, the power broker in Lebanon, responsible for actions by Hezbollah, the Shiite Muslim group aiming to push Israel out of a zone the Jewish state occupies in south Lebanon.
Secretary of State Warren Christopher, who brokered the renewed talks, was making efforts to try to stop a further escalation of hostilities in southern Lebanon, Israel Radio reported.
Israel's earlier air attacks came in reprisal for the death of an Israeli soldier Friday in a ground clash with Hezbollah guerrillas in southern Lebanon. Lebanese sources said Israeli artillery pounded a string of Shiite Muslim villages north of the occupied zone, wounding four civilians, including a 3-year-old boy.
Lebanese police said Hezbollah commander Rida Yassin and an aide were killed when an Israel air-to-ground missile hit their car in a village southeast of Tyre.
Yassin was buried after sundown prayers in Nabatiyeh, which faces the occupied zone, amid cries for revenge from hundreds of mourners.
"The security of our population is no less important than the security of Israeli settlers," Sheik Hassan Nasrallah, Hezbollah's current leader, said in a statement.
"Jewish settlers across the border shall never be secure as long as our people in the south are indiscriminately attacked by Israel's war machine," he said.
Friday's air raids and ground duels were the worst in southern Lebanon this year.