IDF fires dozens of shells at targets in Lebanon after rocket attack on Israel
Military says rocket landed in open area near Kibbutz Matzuva, close to border, without causing damage or injuries; no warning sirens sounded and army says alert levels ‘normal’
The Israel Defense Forces said early Monday that it attacked targets in Lebanon after a rocket was fired into Israel earlier in the night.
“IDF artillery is now attacking targets in Lebanon and firing at the launch area in retaliation for the rocket fired into Israeli territory,” the IDF said in an initial statement. Later it said it struck the launch area with dozens of artillery shells, as well as “an infrastructure target,” without elaborating further.
The rocket that was fired into Israel from Lebanon landed in an open area near Kibbutz Matzuva, close to the border, without causing damage or injuries.
Hezbollah-linked media in Lebanon also reported that a rocket had been fired toward Israel, from an area between the towns of Qlaileh and Maaliyeh, southeast of Tyre.
No rocket warning sirens sounded in Israel as the rocket landed in an open area, and the military said that alert levels in the area remain “normal.”
“We reacted in a quick, deadly and effective way,” said Captain Yotam Zeituni, the commander of the artillery battery that responded to the rocket fire.
The United Nations peacekeeping force along the border, UNIFIL, urged restraint.
“A rocket was launched from Lebanon toward Israel early this morning. Israel Defense Forces are returning fire with dozens of shells. UNIFIL Head of Mission and Force Commander @aroldo_lazaro urges calm and restraint in this volatile and ongoing situation,” UNIFIL tweeted.
There were no immediate reports of casualties or damage in Lebanon and no claims of responsibility. IDF spokesperson Ran Kochav said he believed Palestinians were responsible.
“It is estimated that these are Palestinian factions and that this is related to the Ramadan period and the events of the Temple Mount,” he told Kan public radio.
There have been several instances of rocket fire from Lebanon into Israel in recent years, with most blamed on Palestinian factions in the country, not the Hezbollah terror group.
However, it is unlikely that terrorists in southern Lebanon would be able to fire rockets without at least the tacit approval of the Iran-backed militia, which maintains tight control over the area.
The incident comes amid rising tension over clashes at the Al-Aqsa Mosque on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem and renewed rocket fire from Gaza toward Israel.
Hamas and other Gaza-based terror groups have repeatedly invoked the flashpoint holy site as a red line. Police actions to quell riots there last May were among the triggers of an 11-day war in Gaza.