Yeshiva World News
The Hezbollah terror group said it fired a barrage of rockets into Northern Israel, calling it retaliation for Israeli airstrikes on southern Lebanon a day earlier.
The Israel Defense Forces said 10 projectiles were intercepted by the Iron Dome missile defense system and six landed in open around Mount Dov. Another three rockets failed to clear the border and landed in Lebanese territory, according to the military.
Israel said it was firing back after 19 rockets were launched from Lebanon, and Prime Minister Naftali Bennett swiftly convened a meeting with the country’s top defense officials.
“We do not wish to escalate to a full war, yet of course we are very prepared for that,” said Lt. Col. Amnon Shefler, spokesman for the Israel Defense Forces.
It was the second straight day of rocket fire from Lebanon. But where Hezbollah took responsibility for Friday’s shelling, it was unclear who was responsible for the attacks early Thursday, Shefler said.
Friday’s exchanges were a significant escalation between Israel’s new government and Iran-backed Hezbollah, and comes amid rising tensions between Israel and Iran that has played out in the Persian Gulf.
Israel’s defense minister warned Thursday that his country is prepared to strike Iran, issuing the threat against the Islamic Republic after a fatal drone strike on a oil tanker at sea that Israel blamed on Tehran.
The U.N. peacekeeping force deployed along the Lebanese-Israeli border said it has detected rocket launches from Lebanon on Friday, and return artillery fire by Israel.
“This is a very serious situation and we urge all parties to cease fire,” the force known as UNIFIL said. Force commander Gen. Stefano Del Col, said the force was coordinating with the Lebanese army to strengthen security measures in the area and called on the parties to cease fire immediately.
Some angry villagers, who belong to the Druze sect, could be heard saying: “Hezbollah is firing rockets from between homes so that Israel hits us back.”
Hezbollah later issued a statement saying that the rockets were fired from remote areas, adding that the fighters were stopped in Shwaya on their way back.
“The Islamic Resistance was and will always be most keen about the safety of its people and avoiding any harm to them through its acts of resistance,” the statement said.
Hezbollah, which in recent years has been fighting alongside Syrian President Bashar Assad in the neighboring country’s civil war, named Friday’s operation after two of its fighters who were killed by Israeli fire.
Ali Mohsen was killed in July last year in an Israeli airstrike near the Syrian capital Damascus. Mohammed Tahhan was shot dead by Israeli troops along the Lebanon-Israel border in May during a protest in support of Gaza during this year’s Israel-Hamas war.