The Times of Israel liveblogged Thursday’s events as they unfolded.
The Israeli military says it hit a number of targets belonging to the terror group Hamas in southern Lebanon.
The IDF attacked “infrastructure targets” and other sites of the terror organization, the military says in a statement.
“The IDF will not allow the terrorist organization Hamas to operate from Lebanon and considers the state of Lebanon responsible for all fire from its territory,” the military says.
Loud explosions are heard in the city of Tyre in southern Lebanon, moments after Israel said it was launching airstrikes in the country, from which more than 30 rockets were fired at Israel on Thursday afternoon.
The Israeli army said in a short statement issued at 4:07 am (0107 GMT) that it “is currently striking in Lebanon,” without providing further details.
Israel is launching airstrikes in Lebanon, hours after a barrage of rockets launched from the southern parts of the country hit areas in northern Israel, in the largest such attack in some 17 years.
The Israel Defense Forces blamed the Thursday afternoon rocket attacks on the Hamas terror group, which has a presence in southern Lebanon’s Palestinian refugee camps.
The IDF says details on the strikes in Lebanon will follow.
Israel has also been launching airstrikes in Gaza on Friday morning in response to the attacks.
Rocket sirens have been sounding in southern Israel.
IDF now also attacking in Lebanon pic.twitter.com/mlYH6q7MMM
— Noga Tarnopolsky נגה טרנופולסקי نوغا ترنوبولسكي (@NTarnopolsky) April 7, 2023
An incoming rocket siren is sounding in southern Ashkelon as Israel carries out airstrikes in the Gaza Strip.
The military says the incident is under review.
A short while earlier, incoming rocket alerts were activated in towns near the Palestinian enclave and in open areas along the Gaza border.
There are no immediate reports of injuries or damage.
The sirens come as the Israeli Air Force strikes sites in the Gaza Strip.
The IDF says an alert went off in open areas close to the Gaza Strip amid ongoing Israeli airstrikes.
The military says the details are under review, without providing further details.
Israeli jets have been hitting targets in the Palestinian enclave in response to rocket attacks from Gaza and from Lebanon on Thursday.
The Israeli military says a manned aircraft struck a launcher for anti-aircraft missiles from which such projectiles were launched earlier at Israeli planes and at Israeli territory.
“The IDF attacked tonight, using a remotely manned aircraft, a heavy launcher from which missiles were fired at IDF aircraft and Israeli territory,” the military says.
Earlier, Palestinian media reported that Hamas members launched anti-aircraft missiles at Israeli aircraft over the Gaza Strip amid Israeli airstrikes.
The shoulder-launched missiles are not thought to pose a threat to Israeli fighter jets, although they have set off incoming rocket siren alarms in southern Israel in the past.
The ongoing strikes are being conducted following recent rocket attacks from Gaza, as well as a rocket barrage from Lebanon, which has also been blamed on Hamas.
Palestinian media reports say additional strikes are being carried out by Israel in central Gaza.
Earlier, Israel said it struck two Hamas tunnels and two sites believed to be weapons factories across the Palestinian enclave.
The strikes are in response to rocket attacks on southern Israel from Gaza and from a branch of the terror group in Lebanon on northern Israel.
Incoming rocket sirens are sounding in the southern Israeli towns of Nirim and Mefalsim, as well as at the nearby Nir Am Shooting Range, close to the border with the Gaza Strip.
The Israel Defense Forces does not immediately provide further details.
At least 10 rockets have reportedly been launched from the Gaza Strip at southern Israel following Israeli airstrikes tonight against Hamas sites following recent rocket fire.
After cabinet meeting on rocket attacks from Gaza, Lebanon, Netanyahu vows to ‘exact a significant price, tonight and later’
The high-level security cabinet has made a series of decisions based on recommendations made by the military and defense officials, the Prime Minister’s Office says in a statement.
The decisions are “all based on recommendations from the IDF and the security services, in response to rocket attacks from Lebanon and the Gaza Strip on Israeli citizens.”
In the statement, Netanyahu says that “Israel’s response, tonight and subsequently, will exact a significant price from our enemies.”
Earlier tonight, the IDF struck four Hamas sites in the Gaza Strip over “Hamas’ security violations” in recent days, the military said.
The Prime Minister’s Office says the high-level security cabinet meeting has ended.
The statement does not provide further details on any decisions made by the ministers.
The meeting comes following a major rocket barrage from Lebanon blamed on the Hamas terror group, and earlier rocket attacks from the Gaza Strip,
“The defense establishment is prepared with high readiness in all arenas…we will know how to act against any threat,” says Defense Minister Yoav Gallant on Twitter following the meeting.
Incoming rocket sirens sound in the southern city of Sderot and the nearby towns of Ibim and Nir Am.
The military does not provide further details.
Footage shared online shows Iron Dome interceptor missiles over the area, apparently engaging rockets launched from the Gaza Strip.
The suspected rocket attack comes as the Israeli Air Force launches strikes against Hamas sites in Gaza over recent rocket attacks.
More from the Iron Dome interceptions over Sderot. pic.twitter.com/6GjWK0uiG6
— Emanuel (Mannie) Fabian (@manniefabian) April 6, 2023
The Israel Defense Forces says it has struck two tunnels and two weapon production sites in the Gaza Strip in response to “Hamas’ security violations” in recent days.
The first tunnel was located near the northern Gaza city of Beit Hanoun, according to the IDF.
The second, near the southern Gaza city of Khan Younis, was first struck during the 2021 Gaza war. The IDF says it had identified recent efforts to rebuild it.
“The two tunnels did not cross into Israeli territory and did not pose a threat to Israeli civilians,” the military says.
Additionally, two sites allegedly used by Hamas to manufacture weapons were targeted in the strikes.
“The strikes were carried out in response to Hamas’ security violations in recent days,” the military says, referring to rocket attacks from the Gaza Strip and a major rocket barrage from Lebanon on Thursday.
“The IDF holds the Hamas terrorist organization responsible for all terror activities emanating from the Gaza Strip and it will face the consequences of the security violations against Israel,” the IDF adds.
Incoming rocket sirens are sounding in the towns of Karmia and Netiv HaAssara on the northern border with the Gaza Strip.
A short while earlier, incoming rocket alerts were activated in open areas along the Gaza border, the military says.
There are no immediate reports of injuries or damage.
The sirens come as the Israeli Air Force struck sites in the Gaza Strip.
Palestinian media reports say Hamas members are launching anti-aircraft missiles at Israeli aircraft over the Gaza Strip amid ongoing airstrikes.
The shoulder-launched missiles are not thought to pose a threat to Israeli fighter jets, although they have set off incoming rocket siren alarms in southern Israel in the past.
The strikes are being conducted following recent rocket attacks from Gaza, as well as a rocket barrage from Lebanon, which has also been blamed on Hamas.
Local media reporting anti-aircraft fire towards Israeli aircraft during airstrikes in the Gaza Strip. pic.twitter.com/LP8ks2faV3
— Joe Truzman (@JoeTruzman) April 6, 2023
Footage from southern Israel shows Israeli Air Force airstrikes in the Gaza Strip in response to recent rocket attacks.
There are no immediate reports of injuries in the strikes.
The Israel Defense Forces says it will provide further information later on the airstrikes.
Footage of the IAF strike in the Gaza Strip, as seen from the Israeli border. (Credit: חמל דרום) pic.twitter.com/d2Miq93oEP
— Emanuel (Mannie) Fabian (@manniefabian) April 6, 2023
The Israel Defense Forces says it is carrying out airstrikes in the Gaza Strip following rocket attacks by Hamas from the Palestinian enclave and from Lebanon.
The IDF says it will provide further details on the strikes later.
Palestinian media outlets have reported explosions across the Strip.
Palestinian media reports say several explosions are heard across the Gaza Strip.
The explosions are likely the start of Israeli airstrikes against Hamas following rocket attacks on southern Israel and from a branch of the terror group in Lebanon on northern Israel.
The Israel Defense Forces has yet to confirm it is carrying out airstrikes.
Police say that a group of suspects threw fireworks, rocks and Molotov cocktails towards homes occupied by Jews in the neighborhood of A-Tur in East Jerusalem.
According to police, one of the suspects was hit by gunfire from security forces. Police and Border Police officers are searching for the suspects, they say.
Police say that earlier this evening, they arrested two suspects in the same neighborhood for firing fireworks toward security forces.
Medics say one person is hurt in a suspected shooting attack in the West Bank, just north of Jerusalem.
The Magen David Adom ambulance service says its medics are treating one person wounded by shrapnel at the Geva Binyamin junction, near the settlement of the same name.
He is being taken to the Shaare Zedek hospital in light-to-moderate condition, MDA says.
The Israel Defense Forces says the incident is under review.
Lebanon’s Prime Minister Najib Mikati says the country “refuses any escalation from its territory,” condemning the barrage of rockets fired towards Israel from its soil.
Mikati says in a statement that Lebanon “rejects the use of its territory to carry out operations that destabilize the situation,” after Israel threatened to retaliate against Palestinian groups it accused of the attack.
Hamas chief Ismail Haniyeh says Palestinians “will not sit with their arms crossed” in the face of Israeli “aggression” against the Al-Aqsa mosque in Jerusalem.
Speaking in Beirut after a barrage of rockets was fired from Lebanon toward Israel, Haniyeh says “our Palestinian people and the Palestinian resistance groups will not sit idly by” in the face of Israel’s “savage aggression” against Al-Aqsa.
Haniyeh calls on “all Palestinian organizations to unify their ranks and intensify their resistance against the Zionist occupation.”
The Israel Defense Forces says two rockets were launched from Lebanon at the northern Israeli town of Metula earlier this evening.
According to the IDF, troops scanning an area near the town located two rockets, following a barrage of mortars that also landed there.
The attack caused no injuries or damage.
Earlier today, 34 rockets were launched from southern Lebanon at the Western and Upper Galilee area.
The central city of Rishon Lezion says it is opening public bomb shelters, anticipating rocket attacks from the Gaza Strip.
“Rishon Lezion is not currently within the alert range of the Home Front Command, and despite this, I instructed tonight to open all the shelters throughout the city, so that Rishon Lezion will be prepared for any situation or escalation if there is one,” says Mayor Raz Kinstlich.
“We don’t know if the situation will escalate and I’m not ready to take unnecessary risks,” he adds.
The Israel Defense Forces has not issued any special instructions to residents following rocket attacks from Gaza and Lebanon. The IDF is expected to respond to the recent rocket fire, following a security cabinet meeting.
Police say that two suspects have been arrested during clashes with security forces in Umm al-Fahm.
According to police, dozens of people who gathered threw rocks at police and lit tires on fire in the city.
Unrest has been reported in other Arab-majority cities in Israel on the backdrop of rising violence in Jerusalem as well as with Lebanon.
Labor chief Merav Michaeli offers criticism of opposition chiefs Yair Lapid and Benny Gantz for saying that they would back the government during the escalation with Lebanon.
“The job of the opposition is *not* to automatically back a government whose members are wandering around with a barrel of gasoline and attempting to light the region on fire,” tweets Michaeli.
“Our job is to examine every incident through a magnifying glass in order to ensure that Israel’s security is not compromised by extremist and irresponsible members of the government.”
Michaeli adds that the Labor Party supports the IDF and security officers and will side with the security establishment “in any disagreement with the extremist and irresponsible government.”
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu says that ongoing internal debates in Israeli society will not prevent the country from responding firmly and significantly to escalating violence.
Speaking at the start of an emergency security cabinet meeting in Jerusalem following rocket fire from Lebanon, Netanyahu says that he has made clear in recent days to Israel’s enemies that “the internal debate among us will not prevent us from acting against them anywhere and at any time. We are all — with no exception — united on this.”
Netanyahu reiterates that Israel has “no intention to change the status quo on the Temple Mount — we are calling for a calming of tensions, and we will act firmly against extremists who are deploying violence there.”
The prime minister says that Israel “will hit back at our enemies, and they will pay the price for every act of aggression. Our enemies will learn again that during times that we are tested, Israeli citizens stand together and united, and support the actions of the IDF and the rest of the security forces to protect our country and our citizens.”
The Biden administration blocked the UN Security Council from issuing a statement on the latest uptick in violence between Israelis and Palestinians, a senior Israeli official tells The Times of Israel.
The Security Council held an emergency session today to discuss the recent violence in Jerusalem, and several members pushed for the top UN panel to issue a statement condemning Israel over the police beating of Muslim worshippers at Al-Aqsa on Monday night, according to a UN diplomat for a county on the panel.
Some members were also pushing for the statement to include a condemnation of rocket fire at Israel from Gaza and Lebanon, the UN diplomat says.
However, Israel pushed countries against issuing any statement, fearing that it would be used to draw an equivalency between its actions and those of terror groups, the senior Israeli official says.
Israel’s Ambassador to the UN Gilad Erdan along with the Foreign Ministry coordinated with the Biden administration so that the Security Council would not formally weigh in on the latest developments, the senior Israeli official says.
Jerusalem Police say they will be boosting manpower for Friday Ramadan prayers in the capital, in the wake of violent clashes on and around the Temple Mount in recent days.
Police say around 2,300 police officers, Border Police officers are other security officers will deploy throughout the city tomorrow, in particular around the Old City and East Jerusalem, as well as checkpoints entering Jerusalem.
Several roads around the Old City will be shut to vehicular traffic from 6 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., police say.
“In the past two days we have seen hundreds of rioters and lawbreakers who barricaded themselves on the Temple Mount in an attempt to destroy the routine [Ramadan] prayers and visits to the Temple Mount,” Jerusalem Police say in a statement. “Police call on the worshipers to act to prevent those lawbreakers from disrupting the Muslims’ Ramadan routine and desecrating the mosque.”
The southern coastal city of Ashkelon says it is opening public bomb shelters, anticipating further rocket attacks from the Gaza Strip.
Recent days have seen rocket attacks on southern Israel. Earlier today, 34 rockets were launched from Lebanon at northern Israel, in an attack blamed on the Gaza-based Hamas terror group.
“Following the escalation in the south during the past day and following a situation assessment conducted by the municipality, the mayor of Ashkelon, Tomer Glam, ordered the opening of bomb shelters throughout the city, and they are now open for use if necessary,” the city says in a statement.
The Israel Defense Forces has not issued any special instructions to residents.
The IDF is expected to respond against the Gaza Strip and Lebanon following today’s rocket attack, as well as another overnight attack from the Palestinian enclave.
Amid the escalation in violence, President Isaac Herzog says Israel will take action to ensure the security of its citizens, and called for the international community to condemn the recent rocket fire.
“The State of Israel will act on all levels to maintain its security and the security of its citizens. I demand that the international community strongly condemns the gross violation of international law, so as not to give support to terrorism and the injury of innocent people,” Herzog says.
Herzog says he spoke with local officials in the north and south of the country, and offered them support on behalf of the whole nation.
In addition to today’s rocket and mortar fire from Lebanon, which Israeli officials have blamed on the Hamas terror group, southern communities have also been targeted with projectiles fired from the Gaza Strip over the past two days.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Defense Minister Yoav Gallant, Foreign Minister Eli Cohen, and senior defense and military officials are holding a meeting ahead of a security cabinet meeting tonight to discuss a response to rocket fire from Lebanon.
The meeting is expected to discuss the potential responses to the rocket attacks, which have been blamed on the Hamas terror group.
National Security Minister Itamar Ben Gvir, police commissioner Kobi Shabtai, and chief of police’s Jerusalem district Doron Turgeman are also seen in the meeting.
Earlier, Gallant held a meeting with IDF chief Herzi Halevi, during which he instructed the military to “advance all response options” before presenting them to the security cabinet.
Likud MK Yuli Edelstein, head of the Knesset’s Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee blames Iran for the rocket fire from Lebanon, and calls for a hit to the “head of the snake.”
“Iran is responsible for Hezbollah, Hezbollah is responsible for what is happening in Lebanon,” Edelstein says in a statement.
“We must not chase tails, but hit the head of the snake,” Edelstein says.
“The enemy is now watching Israel and its response, and therefore there must be a powerful and determined response, to make it clear to everyone that despite the internal debate – Israel is here and Israel is as strong as ever,” says Edelstein, who was one of the few voices from Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s Likud party to publicly call for a halt to the government’s contentious judicial overhaul.
“Terror is subdued by force – not by containment,” says Edelstein.
Numerous security officials have said in recent weeks that tensions over the government’s legislative blitz to shackle the judiciary have led to Israel being viewed “as weak” in the eyes of its foes.
Gantz to Netanyahu: Announce that Gallant stays as defense minister; ignore the extremists in your cabinet
Gantz says the opposition “will back every responsible and determined action by the government to restore calm and strengthen deterrence.”
He urges Netanyahu to announce that Yoav Gallant will be staying on as defense minister “with no buts… and no conditions.”
This is “essential to operational success and national security,” he says.
And he urges the prime minister to ignore the extremists in his coalition while handling this crisis. “Netanyahu must act responsibly in handling this situation — he must not rely on the security cabinet… on irresponsible extremists… who will harm national security.”
He says Netanyahu needs to set up a smaller forum to run the situation because “lives are at stake.”
He tells Israel’s neighbors that Israel “maintains and protects freedom of worship — we’ve let more people come to [worship at] the Temple Mount [in recent weeks]. But we won’t let mosques become nests of terror.”
“Don’t fall for the extremists trying to fan the flames,” he says. “We respect the status quo… We all want the holiday season to pass quietly, without wars.”
To Israelis, he says, Israel must remain a democratic, Jewish state. “We won’t compromise on the battle for the nature of our country. We won’t compromise on our security.”
The UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process condemns the firing of rockets from Lebanon toward Israel, while calling for a wider escalation to be avoided.
“I condemn the launching of indiscriminate rockets from Lebanon toward Israel, which resulted in injuries, the largest such firing since 2006,” tweets Tor Wennesland.
“It is unacceptable & must stop. A wider escalation must be avoided. UN remains in contact [with] relevant parties to immediately de-escalate,” Wennesland tweets.
Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich says Israel’s enemies will “regret” attacking the country.
“The State of Israel will not tolerate attacks against its citizens, and our enemies will regret it,” says the far-right finance minister, a member of the high-level security cabinet.
“A severe blow to terrorism is required, along with the return of deterrence to the State of Israel,” Smotrich says.
“In these moments, we leave all disputes, accusations, and political considerations and unite against our enemies,” the Religious Zionism leader says.
National Unity leader Benny Gantz gives a statement on the security situation, saying that the opposition will give its full support to the government in responding to the escalating violence, and saying that Lebanon bears responsibility for rocket fire from its territory.
“We are not only the strongest in the region, but also the most ready,” Gantz says, noting that as defense minister he prepared the IDF for a scenario involving “fighting on multiple fronts for two years.”
The IDF is “not only the strongest but also the best-prepared” force in the region, he says.
“We know how to respond to terror from Lebanon, Gaza and the West Bank,” says Gantz, who is seeing increasing popularity in polls.
“Lebanon is responsible for the rocket fire, and will bear the consequences,” Gantz says, as will Hamas in Gaza.
“We have a bank of targets. We have carried out wide-ranging exercises,” Gantz says. “The IDF is trained and ready, we are ready.”
“In the last few months, the government has damaged our resilience, undermined the chain of command, and taken us into a deep internal rift, but in times of trouble we know how to unite,” Gantz says.
“If we have to end 17 years of quiet on the northern border, we’ll do so — and demand a heavy price.” Likewise, he says, “if we have to attack forcefully in Gaza” or wherever we need to go to fight terror.
“We’ll all stand together for the good of the state and we will win.”
He turns “to our enemies, Hezbollah, Hamas and their protector state Iran: You are making a mistake in your assessments. Facing terror that threatens our citizens, gunfire on our houses, there is no coalition and no opposition; we are all with the IDF.”
The meeting of the high-level security cabinet is delayed until 9:15 p.m., Channel 12 news reports.
No reason is given for the delay.
Defense Minister Yoav Gallant will present “all response options” to the rocket and mortar fire from Lebanon at the meeting, his office said in an earlier statement.
Announcing the meeting, the Prime Minister’s Office said the high-level gathering will discuss the escalation in violence in Jerusalem, Lebanon and Gaza.
Energy Minister Israel Katz says that there needs to be a strong military response to the rocket and mortar fire from Lebanon.
“The situation calls for a tough response. The state of Lebanon bears responsibility for what happens in its territory,” Katz, a member of the security cabinet, tells Channel 12 news.
Katz is questioned on a tweet he wrote in 2021 attacking the previous government in which he said “weakness leads to violence.”
“This means, sir, your government is weak?” asks the anchor.
“Correct,” responds Katz, before trying to explain that the situation was somehow different.
עמליה דואק: לפי המשוואה שלך, אתם ממשלה חלשה.
ישראל כץ: נכון.
— 🇮🇱Daniel Petel🇮🇱 (@danielpet4) April 6, 2023
Several mortars impacted near the northern Israeli town of Metula, the military confirms.
Earlier, local security officials instructed residents of the town near the border with Lebanon to remain in shelters amid sounds of explosions.
The Israel Defense Forces says several mortars were found following scans of the area.
The attack did not cause any injuries or damage.
Lapid: Coalition has harmed deterrence, but ‘when it comes to Israel’s security, there’s no opposition or coalition’
Opposition leader Yair Lapid responds to the escalation in violence, saying that while the actions of the government have damaged Israel’s deterrence, the country will give full backing to the government in any response.
“The extreme and irresponsible behavior of the current government led to a serious damage to deterrence,” the Yesh Atid leader says.
“Our enemies misjudge our inner strength. When it comes to security, there is no opposition or coalition in the State of Israel. We will stand united against any enemy. The opposition will give the government full backing for a harsh response by the IDF and the security forces,” Lapid says.
“Israel should respond at a time and place that is right for us. We should not play into the hands of those who are trying to heat up the region during the month of Ramadan. Instead of acting according to our enemies’ schedule, we must respond forcefully and mercilessly according to the security forces’ assessment of the evolving situation,” Lapid says.
US: Using Lebanon as launchpad puts Lebanese at risk, increases potential for further instability in country
The White House joins the State Department in expressing its concern following the escalation in East Jerusalem and on the Israel-Lebanon border.
“We remain extremely concerned by the continuing violence and we urge all sides to avoid further escalation,” a White House National Security Council spokesperson tells The Times of Israel.
“The President has been fully briefed, and Ambassador to Israel Tom Nides and others throughout the US government continue their regular dialogue with Israel on this and other matters of mutual concern.”
“As the State Department reiterated just yesterday, we stand firmly for preservation of the historic status quo at holy sites in Jerusalem,” the spokesperson continues.
“We also condemn the launch of rockets at Israel. Using Lebanon as a launchpad for rocket attacks against Israel only puts the Lebanese people at risk and increases the potential for further instability in the country,” they say. “Our commitment to Israel’s security remains ironclad. We recognize Israel’s legitimate right to defend its people and territory against all forms of aggression.”
“We urge all sides to avoid further escalation. As the President has made clear, Israelis and Palestinians both deserve to live safely and securely and to enjoy equal measures of security, prosperity, and freedom.”
Defense Minister Yoav Gallant has instructed the defense establishment to “advance all response options” to rocket fire from Lebanon, ahead of presenting them to the high-level security cabinet later tonight, his office says in a statement.
Gallant held a meeting with senior military and defense officials following the rocket fire from Lebanon earlier today, which left two people wounded and caused damage.
“In the situation assessment, a multi-arena review was conducted on the rocket fire during the past day from Lebanon and the Gaza Strip. In addition, an intelligence update was received on the latest developments in all arenas,” Gallant’s office says.
“At the end of the assessment of the situation, Gallant instructed the defense establishment to advance all response options, ahead of presenting them to the security cabinet,” the statement adds.
The meeting included IDF chief Herzi Halevi; Mossad chief David Barnea; Shin Bet head Ronen Bar; head of IDF operations, Oded Basiuk; Tal Kelman, the military official in charge of Iran affairs; the IDF’s liaison to the Palestinians, Ghassan Alian; and other officials.
United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres condemns a barrage of rockets fired from Lebanon toward Israel, his spokesman says, calling on “all actors to exercise maximum restraint.”
“We condemn the multiple rockets being fired from Lebanon into northern Israel today,” Stephane Dujarric tells reporters, asking all parties to “avoid any unilateral action that could further escalate the situation.”
Several mortars have possibly landed near the northern Israeli town of Metula, local officials say.
In a statement to residents, the Metula security team says explosions that sounded in the area are likely mortar impacts.
Incoming rocket sirens did not sound.
There are no reports of injuries or damage in the suspected attack.
The Israel Defense Forces has yet to comment on the incident.
The United States says ally Israel has the right to defend itself after a barrage of rockets from Lebanon.
“Our commitment to Israel’s security is ironclad. We recognize Israel’s legitimate right to defend itself against all forms of aggression,” State Department spokesman Vedant Patel tells reporters.
“We condemn the launch of rockets from Lebanon and Gaza… and we recognize Israel’s legitimate right to defend itself against all forms of aggression.”
Asked to comment on the clashes over the past two nights between Israeli police and Palestinian worshipers at the Temple Mount, State Department spokesman Vedant Patel says, “We are concerned by the scenes out of Jerusalem.”
“It is our viewpoint that it is absolutely vital that the sanctity of holy sites be preserved. We emphasize the importance of upholding the status quo at the holy sites in Jerusalem and any unilateral action that jeopardizes the status quo is unacceptable to us,” he continues. “We call for exercising restraint, coordination and calm during the holiday season.”
Defense Minister Yoav Gallant is holding an assessment with military officials on the potential response to the rocket fire from Lebanon, military spokesman Daniel Hagari says.
Hagari tells reporters that the political echelon will instruct the Israel Defense Forces “how to act and retaliate.”
He says, “The Lebanese [government] is responsible when rockets are launched from its territory.”
The IDF has blamed the barrage of 34 rockets on the Palestinian Hamas terror group, which is based in the Gaza Strip, but also has a presence in southern Lebanon.
The Lebanese Army says it has located several rockets prepared for launch in southern Lebanon.
In a tweet, the Lebanese Army says units located a number of rockets near the towns of Zibqin and Qlaileh.
Earlier, at least 34 rockets were launched into Israel from Lebanon, in an attack blamed on the Hamas terror group.
— الجيش اللبناني (@LebarmyOfficial) April 6, 2023
Military spokesman Daniel Hagari says the Gaza Strip-based Hamas terror group is behind the rocket fire from Lebanon.
In a briefing with reporters, Hagari notes the attack comes amid clashes between police and Palestinians at Al-Aqsa Mosque on Jerusalem’s Temple Mount.
Hagari says the Israel Defense Forces is looking into Iranian involvement in the attack, but says it was carried out by Hamas.
Hamas is also behind recent rocket fire from Gaza, he says.
He adds that while the IDF sees a “convergence of the arenas,” the West Bank is relatively calm, and there are no changes to Israeli policy on the Temple Mount, with Jews generally being unable to visit during the holy Muslim month of Ramadan.
The former head of the IDF’s Military Intelligence Directorate Tamir Hayman says that Palestinian terror factions in Lebanon were responsible for the barrage of rockets at northern Israel this afternoon.
“It wasn’t Hezbollah shooting, but it’s hard to believe that Hezbollah didn’t know about it,” Hayman says.
He speculates that the reasons behind the barrage were the clashes between Israeli police and Palestinian worshippers on the Temple Mount over the past two days “as part of the broad identification that was created in the Palestinian/Arab arena for what was perceived as the ‘desecration’ of Al-Aqsa.”
Another factor that led to the rocket fire was Nasrallah’s “false and exaggerated sense of self-confidence that stems from a wrong interpretation of the recent events,” Hayman says, pointing to the failed bombing attempt in Megiddo by a suspect who infiltrated from Lebanon and the maritime deal the previous government struck with Beirut.
“Another supporting factor is the internal situation in Israel,” Hayman says, highlighting the massive public uproar over the government’s judicial overhaul effort.
“As we estimated, our enemy will not take advantage of this for a premeditated attack, but will take advantage of it if there’s a coincidence or an explosive incident like what’s been happening at the Temple Mount,” Hayman says.
The Foreign Ministry is instructing its missions around the world to make clear to the international community that Israel will respond to today’s rocket barrage from Lebanon and expects countries to issue a clear condemnation of the attack against it.
Hadash-Ta’al MK Ahmad Tibi says he believes a viral video clip of police officers “brutally beating worshipers” at Al-Aqsa Mosque on Tuesday night was a major cause for the rocket fire against Israel.
“This video is viral in the entire Islamic world,” he tells Channel 12. “I assess that this clip led to rocket fire. Whoever gave the order for officers [to act that way] bears responsibility and is a fool.”
הפלסטינים מדווחים – שוטרים עם אלות מכים מתפללים ללא אבחנה באלות ובנשק, אחרי שנכנסו למסגד. pic.twitter.com/QZooMwaXsk
— Deiaa haj yahia-ضياء حاج يحيى (@DeiaaHaj) April 4, 2023
In response to Tibi’s interview, a “senior police source” tells Channel 12 that its forces came under “direct fire inside Al-Aqsa” overnight.
The TV station’s Palestinian affairs reporter Ohad Hemo says that for the past week Hamas and other Gaza groups had been asserting that Israel intend to come and defile Al-Aqsa, so that 400 young Palestinians, masked, barricaded themselves inside the mosque in “a provocation” designed “precisely to cause these scenes.”
Western Galilee council head says tourism sites evacuated, residents told to stay close to reinforced rooms
Moshe Davidovich, head of the Mateh Asher Regional Council in Western Galilee, says beaches and other tourism areas have been evacuated from Rosh Hanikra to Moshav Bustan Ha’Galil, and residents told to stay close to rooms reinforced against rocket fire.
He complains, however, that many Western Galilee residents don’t have reinforced rooms to shelter in from rocket fire, and urges the government to belatedly allocate the necessary resources.
Meanwhile, Alik Kaplan, from Moshav Betzet in the Western Galilee, tells Channel 12 that the building he uses to store agricultural equipment was hit in the rocket attack and its contents destroyed.
This was one of the incoming rockets that Iron Dome didn’t intercept, he says.
He notes that his sister and her family live in a house 50 yards from where the rocket struck.
Likud MK Danny Danon says Israel’s response to the afternoon barrage of rockets from Lebanon must be “disproportionate.”
“We don’t need to absorb [these rockets]. We need to respond in a language our enemies understand – the language of strength.”
“The response should be disproportionate. We should shock these terrorist organizations,” Danon continued.
He acknowledged that such a response by Israel could drag the region into a wider conflict but said, “What are we preparing the IDF for, if when dozens of rockets are fired into Israeli territory we do not react?”
A senior Hezbollah official says “the Israeli effort to harm the Al-Aqsa Mosque and harm our holy sites will set the region on fire.”
The comments to the Hezbollah-linked al-Manar TV by Hezbollah Executive Council chief Hashem Safi al-Din come shortly after a barrage of 34 rockets were fired at Lebanon from Israel.
While Hezbollah has denied responsibility for the rockets, it is widely believed that they wouldn’t have been fired without the terror group’s approval.
The past two nights have seen intense clashes between Israeli police and Palestinian worshippers at the Al-Aqsa Mosque.
Military chief Herzi Halevi and the head of the Shin Bet security agency Ronen Bar are holding a security assessment at the Israel Defense Forces’ headquarters in Tel Aviv, following the rocket fire on northern Israel.
The IDF’s General Staff Forum, made up of top generals as well as civilian members such as the director-general of the Defense Ministry, is participating in the meeting.
Later, Halevi and Bar will hold meetings with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Yoav Gallant.
ראש המטה הכללי, רב-אלוף הרצי הלוי, וראש השב״כ, רונן בר, מקיימים כעת הערכת מצב משותפת עם פורום המטה הכללי בבסיס הקריה בתל אביב pic.twitter.com/WDgA1Id4VE
— צבא ההגנה לישראל (@idfonline) April 6, 2023
Foreign Minister Eli Cohen on Twitter calls on the world to condemn the earlier rocket attacks from Lebanon and overnight attacks from the Gaza Strip.
“First day of Passover. As we sit at the holiday table, family and friends, Israel is facing rockets from south and north. This is not a coincidence. No one should test us, we will take all necessary measures to defend our country and people,” Cohen says.
“I call on the international community to issue a clear statement against those responsible for the attacks on Israel,” he adds.
First day of Passover. As we sit at the holiday table, family and friends, Israel is facing rockets from south and north. This is not a coincidence. No one should test us, we will take all necessary measures to defend our country and people.
— אלי כהן | Eli Cohen (@elicoh1) April 6, 2023
At least 34 rockets were launched from Lebanon today. Last night and early this morning, several rockets and anti-aircraft missiles were launched from the Gaza Strip, triggering alarms.
United Nations peacekeeping forces in Lebanon say the rocket barrages on northern Israel earlier today are “extremely serious.”
“This afternoon there were multiple rocket launches from southern Lebanon toward Israel,” UNIFIL says in a statement.
It says the head of the force, Major General Aroldo Lázaro, is in contact with both Israeli and Lebanese authorities.
“The current situation is extremely serious. UNIFIL urges restraint and to avoid further escalation,” the statement adds.
The Israel Defense Forces says 34 rockets were launched from southern Lebanon at the Western and Upper Galilee earlier.
According to the IDF, the Iron Dome air defense system intercepted 25 of the projectiles.
At least five rockets impacted in Israeli territory, while the locations of the remaining four are still unknown, the IDF adds.
The rocket impacts caused two minor injuries and some damage.
There are no special instructions for civilians following the unprecedented attack, the IDF’s Home Front Command says.
The Galilee Medical Center in Nahayira says it is treating two people wounded by shrapnel in the rocket attacks from Lebanon.
A 26-year-old man, a resident of Yanuh Jat, was lightly hurt after being hit by shrapnel while driving a motorcycle near Shlomi, the hospital says.
The second man, a 19-year-old from Fassuta, was hit by shrapnel while driving in the village.
Both are in stable condition, the hospital adds.
The mayor of the northern city of Nahariya, Ronen Marelly, says the city is opening public bomb shelters following barrages of rockets launched from southern Lebanon at northern Israel.
None of the rockets were aimed at Nahariya, and incoming rocket sirens did not sound there.
Marelly says the city is opening the public shelters regardless, anticipating further attacks.
A source close to the Hezbollah terror group tells the Saudi-funded al-Arabiya network that it is not involved in the rocket attacks on northern Israel earlier.
“We have nothing to do with the rocket fire,” the source says.
Other sources suggest to al-Arabiya that “Palestinian factions” are behind the rocket fire.
The Israeli military has in the past blamed rocket attacks from Lebanon on Palestinian factions in the country, not Hezbollah.
However, it is unlikely that terrorists in southern Lebanon would be able to fire rocket barrages without at least the tacit approval of the Iran-backed militia, which maintains a tight degree of control over southern Lebanon.
Israeli officials say at least 34 rockets were launched from southern Lebanon at the Western and Upper Galilee in northern Israel earlier.
According to initial assessments cited by the Kan public broadcaster, at least five landed in Israeli territory, some causing injuries and damage.
The rest were downed by the Iron Dome air defense system.
The Israel Defense Forces has yet to provide an exact number of rockets.
The attack may mark the largest number of rockets fired from Lebanon since the 2006 war, during which thousands of rockets were launched at Israel. In August 2021, Hezbollah fired 19 rockets at northern Israel.
Footage of Iron Dome interceptor missiles over northern Israel amid rocket barrages from Lebanon. pic.twitter.com/ETfULdecJo
— Emanuel (Mannie) Fabian (@manniefabian) April 6, 2023
The high-level security cabinet will convene tonight following rocket attacks from Lebanon, the Prime Minister’s Office says.
The meeting will come after an assessment Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is expected to hold with defense officials.
The cabinet has not met in nearly two months.
Defense Minister Yoav Gallant has “given initial directives” to military chief Herzi Halevi following rocket attacks from Lebanon.
“Gallant has been briefed on the details of the recent security events on Israel’s northern border, and has given initial directives to the IDF Chief of the General Staff and the wider defense establishment,” his office says.
“The minister will soon conduct a situation assessment with senior officials in the defense establishment,” Gallant’s office adds.
The Magen David Adom (MDA) ambulance service says a man riding an off-road vehicle in northern Israel is lightly wounded by shrapnel amid a rocket attack from Lebanon.
The 26-year-old, a resident of Yanuh Jat, is taken to the Galilee Medical Center in Nahayira for treatment.
The service adds that a woman is also reported hurt after falling over while running to a shelter, and another woman reported suffering from severe anxiety.
MDA says it is raising its level of alert amid the rocket launches from southern Lebanon at northern Israel.
One of the rockets launched from southern Lebanon causes damage to a road and a building in the northern town of Shlomi.
There are no immediate reports of injuries in the town.
— גלצ (@GLZRadio) April 6, 2023
The Prime Minister’s Office says Benjamin Netanyahu will convene a meeting with defense officials on the rocket attacks from Lebanon shortly.
“Netanyahu is being regularly updated on the security incidents and will conduct a situation assessment with the heads of the security establishment,” his office says.
Are you relying on The Times of Israel for accurate and timely coverage right now? If so, please join The Times of Israel Community. For as little as $6/month, you will:
We’re really pleased that you’ve read X Times of Israel articles in the past month.
That’s why we started the Times of Israel eleven years ago - to provide discerning readers like you with must-read coverage of Israel and the Jewish world.
So now we have a request. Unlike other news outlets, we haven’t put up a paywall. But as the journalism we do is costly, we invite readers for whom The Times of Israel has become important to help support our work by joining The Times of Israel Community.
For as little as $6 a month you can help support our quality journalism while enjoying The Times of Israel AD-FREE, as well as accessing exclusive content available only to Times of Israel Community members.
David Horovitz, Founding Editor of The Times of Israel