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Lebanon halts more rocket fire on Israel

  Lebanese army soldiers stand next to a rocket which  fell short in Lebanon several kilometers north of the Israeli border, near the village of el-Me...
  Lebanese army soldiers check a rocket which is fell short in Lebanon several kilometers north of the Israeli border, near the village of el-Meri, in...
  Lebanese army soldiers look at a rocket which  fell short in Lebanon several kilometers north of the Israeli border, near the village of el-Meri, in...
   Lebanese army soldiers stand next to a rocket which  fell short in Lebanon several kilometers north of the Israeli border, as the soldier in the ri...

CORRECTION Mideast Lebanon Israel

Lebanese army soldiers stand next to a rocket which fell short in Lebanon several kilometers north of the Israeli border, near the village of el-Me...

CORRECTION Mideast Lebanon Israel

Lebanese army soldiers check a rocket which is fell short in Lebanon several kilometers north of the Israeli border, near the village of el-Meri, in...

CORRECTION Mideast Lebanon Israel

Lebanese army soldiers look at a rocket which fell short in Lebanon several kilometers north of the Israeli border, near the village of el-Meri, in...

CORRECTION Mideast Lebanon Israel

Lebanese army soldiers stand next to a rocket which fell short in Lebanon several kilometers north of the Israeli border, as the soldier in the ri...

Lebanese troops found and dismantled several rockets positioned to hit Israel after militants in the south fired some earlier on Wednesday _ a sign that Lebanon's government is determined to prevent the country from being drawn into another war with the Jewish state battling Hamas in Gaza.
The second rocket attack on Israel in less than a week drew a brief Israeli artillery retaliation and no one was hurt in Wednesday's exchange on both sides of the border.
But it underlined the volatility of the Lebanese-Israeli border and highlighted the threat of Mideast conflict getting a second front as Israel presses ahead with its invasion of the militant Palestinian-run Gaza Strip.
Lebanon's government moved quickly, condemned the morning rocket firing from Lebanon and ordered more troops to the southern border region. The three fired rockets crashed in an open area in northern Israel. The commander of U.N. peacekeepers in southern Lebanon urged both Lebanon and Israel to exercise restraint.
Later, the Lebanese army announced that three more rockets, set to be fired, were discovered and dismantled.
Southern Lebanon has been largely quiet since a U.N.-brokered truce halted the summer 2006 war between Israel and the militant Hezbollah movement _ a bruising 34-day battle in which more than 1,000 people were killed in Lebanon and about 160 in Israel.
The latest exchange demonstrated how quickly the violence could spread while also reflecting a stronger willingness by the Lebanese to enforce the U.N. resolution calling for a calm and secure southern Lebanon.
Lebanese Information Minister Tarek Mitri said such attacks "harm national interest" and could give Israel a pretext to attack.
The heavily armed Lebanese Hezbollah militant group has previously said it would not get involved in the Gaza fighting but has warned Israel it will fight back if attacked.
However, the government's ability to contain trouble is limited. Syria and Iran, both supporters of Hamas, and their Palestinian and Lebanese allies are major players in Lebanon. Also, it's easy to conceal rockets in the hilly and forested terrain of southern Lebanon.
"Physically there is not all that much they (government) can do," said professor Timur Goksel, who was adviser to the U.N. force in southern Lebanon for nearly 20 years. "South Lebanon is a perfect rocket launching territory. You cannot cover every valley. It is physically impossible."
No one claimed responsibility for Wednesday's firing. But the attack _ as a similar salvo last Thursday _ while limited in scope, was a clear message to Israel by militants that it cannot seek to defeat Hamas in Gaza without risking trouble elsewhere.
Suspicion fell on small militant Palestinian groups in Lebanon seeking to aid Hamas _ particularly the Damascus-based Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine-General Command which had threatened to open other fronts against Israel.
The group refused to say whether it was behind last week's firing and had no comment on Wednesday's rockets, but has voiced support for such attacks.
Goksel said the firing was "an act of solidarity with Gaza" and that while Hezbollah was not suspected, "they are not really going out there to stop these people."
Meanwhile, many Lebanese received recorded telephone messages Wednesday apparently from abroad, telling them they shouldn't allow Palestinian factions or al-Qaida to fire rockets into Israel. The voice message at the end signed off as "The State of Israel."
The origin of the messages could not be confirmed, though similar reports surfaced of Israeli phone campaigns during the 2006 war. The Israeli Army had no immediate comment and said they were looking into the matter.


Updated : 2021-06-24 03:11 GMT+08:00