Israel retaliates after rockets
fired from Lebanon

IDF patrol on the Israel-Lebanese border. (AFP PHOTO)

JERUSALEM - An unknown group fired two missiles into Israel from the southern town of Al-Mary in Hasbaya at 6:00am Friday morning, the National News Agency reported. Israel retaliated by firing an artillery barrage into Lebanese territory.


The NNA initially stated that Israel fired four shells, but later reported 25 had fallen in the outskirts of Lebanon’s Kfarshouba.


In a statement the army added that it found and dismantled two 107mm rockets in an olive orchard on the outskirts of Al-Mary in Hasbaya, where several rockets were launched at Israel earlier in the day.


One of the launch crew was apparently wounded, as the army found blood at the site and took samples for identification.


The army also collected fingerprints, and a bag containing communication devices, a compass, and a map of launch sites.


Security forces erected checkpoints in Arkoub and Hasbaya to search passersby and cars, and are looking for the wounded man in hospitals and private clinics in southern Lebanon.


Shortly after midnight, a rocket that was to be fired at Israel from the town of Ain Arab exploded before launch due to a technical malfunction.


Security forces and army units immediately imposed a security cordon around the site.


Early this morning AFP cited an Israeli army statement, alleging a projectile fired from Lebanon had struck northern Israel early Friday morning, causing no harm or damages.


"One projectile hit an open space near Kfar Yuval, between [northern Israeli towns] Metula and Kiryat Shmona," a military spokesperson told the agency.


A military spokesperson told AFP that Israel had filed a complaint to the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL), which monitors the border between Lebanon and Israel, following the incident.


Israeli public radio said two Katyusha rockets slammed into an area north of Kiryat Shmona, near Metula, one of which struck a road which was deserted at the time.


AFP later reported that military officials said they believed the rockets were fired by a small Palestinian group in an act of solidarity with militants from Gaza's Islamist Hamas movement, who have been engaged in a major confrontation with the Israeli army since Tuesday. 


They said it was unlikely the rockets were fired by the Shiite Hezbollah movement, which controls southern Lebanon, as it did not want to pick a fight with Israel at this stage.


A Lebanese security source confirmed the incident, but said the number of rockets fired was "up to three."


"The Israelis fired back, launching some 25 shells at the outskirts of Kfarshouba."


"No one was hurt, the shelling hit the fields, not houses. The situation at the border is now calm, and one man has been detained by the security forces for questioning," he added.


IDF patrol on the Israel-Lebanese border. (AFP PHOTO)

No one was hurt, the shelling hit the fields, not houses. The situation at the border is now calm, and one man has been detained by the security forces for questioning.