ROSH HANIKRA, Israel (Reuters) – Israel returned on Friday the bodies of three Hizbollah guerrillas killed in a clash earlier this week in a move that military sources said was aimed at easing tension on the Lebanese border.The three were killed on Monday in one of the fiercest battles on the border since Israel withdrew its forces from southern Lebanon in May 2000 after a 22-year occupation.

The bodies were handed over on Friday morning to officials from the International Committee for the Red Cross at the Rosh Hanikra crossing on the Israeli-Lebanese border."The bodies were returned as a confidence-building gesture to create calm along the Israel-Lebanon border," a military source said.Four gunmen died during Monday’s Hizbollah raid of Ghajar, a divided village that straddles the border. Lebanese sources said the raid aimed, but failed, to seize Israeli soldiers who could be traded for Arabs jailed in Israel.

 One of the dead was retrieved by the Lebanese but the rest remained on the Israeli side of Ghajar.

The Israeli army, which has in the past kept bodies of guerrillas to trade in prisoner exchange deals, said it handed over the bodies following a request by the Lebanese government.

Israel retaliated for the Hizbollah raid, in which 11 Israeli soldiers were wounded, with shelling and air strikes.

Tensions was ratcheted up further on Wednesday when an Israeli civilian paraglider pilot was blown across the border by strong winds. The pro-Syrian Hizbollah and Israeli troops exchanged fire as he dashed back to safety. There were no casualties.