Israeli Warplanes Strike Terror Targets in Lebanon

YERUSHALAYIM -
A view shows the damage in the aftermath of Israeli airstrikes, as seen from Marjayoun, near the border with Israel, Lebanon, Thursday. (Reuters/Karamallah Daher)

For the first time in seven years, Israeli aircraft struck what the IDF said were rocket launch sites in south Lebanon early on Thursday, in response to earlier projectile fire towards Israel from Lebanese territory.

Two rockets launched from Lebanon on Wednesday struck Israel, which responded with artillery fire amid heightened regional tensions over an alleged Iranian attack on an oil tanker in the Gulf last week.

The rockets sent residents into bomb shelters as air raid sirens blared in Kiryat Shemona, Kfar Giladi and Tel Chai.

There was no claim of responsibility for the rocket strike, launched from an area of south Lebanon under the sway of Iranian-backed Hezbollah terrorists. There were no casualties, baruch Hashem.

In a further response to the rocket fire, the IDF said on Thursday that its “fighter jets struck the launch sites and infrastructure used for terror in Lebanon from which the rockets were launched.”

An additional target in the area that was a source of rocket fire in the past was also struck, the IDF said.

The IDF statement didn’t mention Hezbollah and it wasn’t clear if the targets the army attacked belonged to the Shiite terrorist group or other armed groups active in south Lebanon, including Palestinian factions that have fired sporadically on Israel in the past, including two rockets launched towards Israel in July.

Hezbollah’s Al-Manar channel said Israeli warplanes had carried out two raids on the outskirts of the Lebanese town of Mahmudiya, about 12 kilometers (7.5 miles) from the Israeli border.

Residents of the area reported blast waves from areas where Hezbollah positions are located. Videos posted to social media showed what appeared to be fires and explosions.

The border has been mostly quiet since Israel fought a 2006 war against Hezbollah.

Prime Minister Naftali Bennett, Defense Minister Benny Gantz and IDF Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Aviv Kochavi were briefed on the rocket attack and convened a high-level security consultation.

The IDF issued a statement saying that “the government of Lebanon bears full responsibility for any rocket fire from its territory toward Israel. There is a lack of governance in Lebanon over terrorist elements, and Israel will not tolerate any rocket fire against it under any circumstances.”