(PatriotWise.com)- Last Wednesday, three rockets were fired from Lebanon into Israeli territory. The Israeli army immediately responded with sustained artillery fire. Then in the early hours on Thursday, Israel escalated its response to the attack by launching airstrikes into Lebanon.
In a statement, the army said that IDF jets hit the launch sites from which the rockets had been fired the day before. They also hit an additional target used in recent attacks against Israel.
The overnight airstrikes come at a politically sensitive time as Israel’s new eight-party governing coalition is attempting to maintain the fragile ceasefire that ended the 11-day battle with Hamas in Gaza back in May.
The Hezbollah-owned Lebanese TV station al-Manar reported the strikes at around two a.m. Thursday morning claiming the missiles hit an empty area in the Marjayoun district.
According to Israel’s Channel 12, two of the three rockets from Lebanon landed inside Israeli territory. One rocket exploded in an open area, while the second was intercepted by Israel’s Iron Dome defense system. Israeli media reported that the incoming rockets started fires near Kiryat Shmona, a community of about 20,000 people located near the border with Lebanon.
Lebanese military reported that in Israel’s initial response, 92 artillery shells were fired on Lebanese villages resulting in a fire in the village of Rashaya al-Fukhar. In a statement, the Lebanese army said it was conducting patrols along the border region and set up numerous checkpoints.
However, Lebanese officials did not immediately confirm the subsequent Israeli airstrikes.
State Department spokesman Ned Price condemned Lebanon’s actions saying that Israel has the right to defend itself against such rocket attacks. Price told reporters in Washington that the US will remain engaged with regional partners in an effort to deescalate the situation.
Meanwhile, at the United Nations, spokesman Stephane Dujarric said that UNIFIL — the UN peacekeeping mission in Lebanon – was aware of both the initial rocket attack from Lebanon and the Israeli response. Dujarric said that UNIFIL Major General Stefano Del Col is appealing for a ceasefire and urging both Israel and Lebanon to “exercise maximum restraint to avoid further escalation.”