Israeli army fires into Lebanon after rocket attacks


JERUSALEM – Israel shelled Lebanon early Tuesday (20) in response to earlier rocket attacks, the Israeli army said, as the United Nations urged all sides to show “maximum restraint”.

The Israeli army said “two rockets were fired from Lebanon into Israeli territory”, with one intercepted by air defences. The other hit open ground.

“In response… (Israeli) artillery struck in Lebanese territory,” the army said.

A Lebanese security source told AFP the rockets were fired at Israel from the Qlaileh area of southern Lebanon, where a third rocket was also found.

The source said the Lebanese army had not identified the group responsible for the launch.

The head of Israel’s army Aviv Kohavi, speaking at a northern military base in footage provided by the army, said Israel would “respond either openly or in secret, or both at the same time, to every violation of our sovereignty”.

The UN peacekeeping force in the border region, UNIFIL, said it had boosted security in the area and “launched an investigation” in collaboration with Lebanon’s military.

“UNIFIL is in direct contact with the parties to urge maximum restraint and avoid further escalation,” it said in a statement.

The last time rockets were fired from Lebanon into Israel was in May, during an 11-day conflict between Israel and Palestinian armed groups in the Gaza Strip.

In recent weeks, Israeli security officials have expressed growing concern over the deepening economic crisis in Lebanon and its ramifications for border security.

Defence Minister Benny Gantz tweeted: “The state of Lebanon is responsible for the rockets fired overnight, as it allows terrorists to operate within its territory.

“We will not allow the social, political and economic crisis in Lebanon to turn into a security threat to Israel. I call on the international community to take action to restore stability in Lebanon,” Gantz said.

-Agence France-Presse



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