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IDF chief vows to respond to any attack after rocket fire from Lebanon

Aviv Kohavi says Israel won’t tolerate any violation of its sovereignty, accuses Hezbollah of ‘significant role’ in Lebanese economic crisis

IDF Chief of Staff Aviv Kochavi attends a ceremony in central Israel, on July 14, 2021. (Tomer Neuberg/Flash90)
IDF Chief of Staff Aviv Kochavi attends a ceremony in central Israel, on July 14, 2021. (Tomer Neuberg/Flash90)

Israel Defense Forces chief Aviv Kohavi warned Lebanon on Tuesday that Israel will respond to any rocket attacks from the country, after terrorists fired projectiles toward Israeli territory overnight.

“Lebanon is in a process of collapse. Hezbollah has a significant role in this collapse. However, we don’t intend to allow fire like there was early this morning toward northern communities,” Kohavi said during an IDF conference in the north.

He added: “We will respond and attack, openly or covertly, to any violation of our sovereignty from Lebanon.”

Kohavi’s warning followed similar vows by Prime Minister Naftali Bennett and Defense Minister Benny Gantz that Israel will respond to any violation of its sovereignty from Lebanon. Both also noted the situation in Lebanon, which is facing what the World Bank says is one of the world’s worst financial crises since the 1850s.

In response to the rocket fire, which set off warning sirens in the Western Galilee region, the military said it fired artillery shells at the source of the rockets.

One of the rockets was intercepted by the Iron Dome missile defense system, while the second fell in an open area near the coast, the IDF said. There were no reports of injuries or damage, and the military said it had no special instructions for residents of the region.

Illustrative: Israeli soldiers sit in a tent next to their mobile artillery piece near the border with Lebanon, northern Israel, on August 26, 2020. (AP/Ariel Schalit)

The early morning attack came some four hours after Syrian state media said Israeli aircraft launched a number of missiles at targets near the Syrian city of Aleppo.

The Israeli military believes the rockets at northern Israel were fired by a Palestinian group in southern Lebanon, not by the country’s powerful Hezbollah terror group. However, Hezbollah maintains tight control over southern Lebanon, making it unlikely that such an attack would be conducted from that area without at least its tacit approval.

The Lebanese Army announced Tuesday it had located three Grad rocket launchers, one of which was armed, in the town of Qlaileh, south of Tyre.

There are several Palestinian terror groups operating in southern Lebanon, along with Hezbollah, which is backed by Iran and closely allied with Syria’s Assad regime.

Israel has frequently hit Hezbollah targets and fighters in Syria in an effort to keep the terrorist militia from opening a second front against Israel there.

Agencies contributed to this report.

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