GALILEE, ISRAEL (BNO NEWS) — A series of rocket attacks originating from Lebanon struck northern Israel on early Tuesday morning, officials said, triggering quick retaliation. There were no reports of casualties.
Four Katyusha rockets were fired from Lebanon into the Western Galilee area of northern Israel. As a result, two buildings were damaged and one of the 122-millimeter (4.8 inch) rockets struck a gas tank. A fire broke out which burned for several hours, but there were no injuries.
The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) blamed Lebanon for the attack. “The IDF regards this incident as severe, and holds the Lebanese government and the Lebanese Army responsible for preventing any rocket fire at Israel,” it said in a statement.
Israeli officials quickly determined that the rockets were fired into Israel from an area between the villages of Aita Shaab and Rmeish, about 2 kilometers (1.2 mile) from the border. In retaliation, four artillery shells were fired from Israel, but no damage or injuries were reported as they landed in fields.
The al-Qaeda affiliated militant group the Sheikh Abdullah Azzam Brigades later claimed responsibility for the attack. Members of the small group mostly live in Palestinian refugee camps in southern Lebanon and have limited and outdated arms, many of them leftover from the Lebanon civil war in the 1980s.
Two rocket launchers, believed to be used in the initial attack, were later found by the Lebanese Army, according to reports. Meanwhile, the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFL) vowed to ensure peace, meeting with leaders from both the IDF and the Lebanese Army, as well as deploying extra troops and patrol teams.
“This is a serious incident in violation of UN Security Council resolution 1701 and is clearly directed at undermining stability in the area,” UNIFL stated. In 2009, a previous rocket attack was carried out in the same border area, where in 2006, a 34-day war was fought between Israel and Iranian-backed Lebanese Hezbollah guerrillas.