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Saturday, July 24, 2021

Israel Bombards Lebanon After Rocket Attack

The Israeli military said they were bombarding southern Lebanon Tuesday morning, after two rockets were fired from Lebanese territory into Israeli territory.

Israeli forces said in a statement that their air defenses intercepted one of the rockets, and a second fell in an open area. No injuries or damage were reported.

The UN peacekeeping force in Lebanon, known as UNIFIL, said its radar detected rockets fired from South Lebanon at Israel just before 4 a.m. local time.

The Lebanese military said Israel fired 12 artillery shells into the Wadi Hammoul area, but caused no damage or casualties. They said his unit there had found three launch pads for the Grad rocket.

The rocket fire from Lebanon was the first cross-border incident since May, when Palestinian militants launched rockets at Israel during the 11-day war between Israel and Hamas militants in the Gaza Strip.

Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz in Jerusalem, June 13, 2021. (Photo: AP)

Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz said in a statement that Lebanon was responsible for last night’s rocket attack and that “Israel will act against any threat to its sovereignty and citizens”.

“We will not allow the social, political and economic crisis in Lebanon to turn into a security threat to Israel,” Gantz said. Lebanon is still grappling with unprecedented crises, including an economic crisis that has raised fears of a surge in militancy there.

UNIFIL said it had been in contact with military officials in Lebanon and Israel so they could exercise restraint to avoid further escalation. Both peacekeepers and Lebanese forces are stepping up security in the area and carrying out investigations, the mission said.

The incident along the Lebanon-Israel border came hours after a Syrian military official said Israel carried out air strikes near the northern Syrian city of Aleppo. Syria’s state news agency said the country’s air defenses intercepted most of the missiles in the attack.

The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said the Israeli strikes targeted weapons depots belonging to Iran-backed militant groups operating in the region.

Israel has carried out a number of airstrikes in Syria in recent years targeting Iranian forces there, and attacking what Israel says are arms shipments destined for the Iran-backed militant group Hezbollah in Lebanon.

The Israeli military rarely comment on attacks like this. [ab/uh]

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