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Lebanon-based militants launch rocket into Israel

Lebanon-based militants launch rocket into Israel

Lebanon-based militants launched a rocket into northern Israel on Tuesday evening, drawing a rapid response from Israeli artillery in a brief flare-up across the tense border that caused no causlties.
Lebanon's official news agency said unknown elements unleashed a Katyusha rocket from a valley between the Lebanese border villages of Houla and Mais al-Jabal.
About 45 minutes later, Israeli artillery shelled the area from which the rocket was fired, the agency said.
A Lebanese military official said nine shells fell on the area and Israeli helicopters and drones flew over the area.
The official spoke on condition of anonymity in line with government regulations. There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the rocket launch.
Israeli police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld confirmed a single rocket from Lebanon hit northeastern Israel, but caused no casualties.
In a statement, the Israeli military said it views the incident as "grave" and holds the Lebanese government responsible.
There was no immediate comment from the Lebanese government, which has in the past criticized both the firing of rockets from southern Lebanon into Israel and the Israeli retaliation.
A Hezbollah official refused to comment on the rocket firing when contacted by The Associated Press late Tuesday.
Yasmina Bouziane, a spokeswoman for the U.N. peacekeeping force known as UNIFIL deployed in southern Lebanon after the 2006 Israel-Hezbollah war, said the force was "in contact with both parties urging them to exercise maximum restraint, uphold the cessation of hostilities and avoid taking steps which could lead to further escalation."
According to preliminary reports, she said, one rocket was fired from the area of Houla in southern Lebanon and impacted in northern Israel in the vicinity of Kiryat Shemona.
Israeli forces "retaliated with artillery fire aimed at the area from where the rocket originated," Bouziane said, adding that UNIFIL has no reports of casualties on either side.
UNIFIL, in coordination with the Lebanese armed forces, has deployed additional troops and reaction force in the area, she said.
The U.N. force has launched an investigation into the rocket attack.
The Lebanon-Israel border has been largely quiet since Israel and the militant group Hezbollah fought a bitter war in the summer of 2006. That war ended with a U.N.-brokered cease-fire that saw thousands of Lebanese troops and international peacekeepers deployed to keep the peace in south Lebanon.
Hezbollah has not claimed responsibility for any attacks since the end of the fighting, which ravaged Lebanon's south.
But smaller militant organizations, some of them linked to al-Qaida, have launched rockets on several occasions. The last one was on Sept. 11.
Tuesday's attack was the fifth this year. None have caused serious casualties.
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Associated Press writer Matti Friedman in Jerusalem contributed to this report.


Updated : 2021-08-06 06:31 GMT+08:00