According to the Israeli army, dozens of rockets were fired from Lebanon – for the first time in more than a decade and a half. According to the military, the national defense system Iron Dome intercepted 25 of a total of 34 missiles. Five rockets landed on Israeli territory. The whereabouts of four more will be checked.
According to Israeli media reports, this was the heaviest shelling from Lebanon since 2006. The two neighboring countries are officially still at war. There is always tension at the border.
According to a statement by the Israeli rescue service “Magen David Adom” (in German: David’s Red Shield), at least two people were slightly injured in the north of the country. Sirens could be heard in several places.
According to the Israeli army, rocket alarms were sounded in the town of Shlomi and in the settlement of Betzet. Residents have been instructed to go to shelters. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu convened the security cabinet for the evening.
After a rocket attack, a huge plume of smoke has formed in the northern Israeli settlement of Betzet
It was unclear which group was behind the attacks. In Lebanese security circles it was said that most of the rockets were so-called Katyusha rockets, which are mainly used by Palestinian groups.
Hezbollah makes statement of solidarity
Earlier, the pro-Iranian Hezbollah militia in Lebanon said it supported any “measures” taken by Palestinian groups following recent clashes with police on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem. She expresses her “full solidarity with the Palestinian people and the resistance groups,” the militia said.
It controls large parts of southern Lebanon and has close ties to the radical Islamist Hamas, which controls the Gaza Strip. Hamas chief Ismail Haniyeh arrived in Lebanon on Wednesday. Germany, the European Union, the USA and some Arab states classify Hamas as a terrorist organization.
The Israeli military has denied reports by Lebanese state media of alleged attacks on targets in southern Lebanon in response to the rocket fire. Israel has “so far” taken no retaliatory measures, the army said when asked by the AFP news agency.
The Lebanese news agency ANI reported that Israeli artillery fired “several shells from their positions on the border” towards the outskirts of two villages in southern Lebanon, in response to the fire of “several Katyusha-type rockets”.
UN mission: “The situation is very serious”
The UN observer mission UNIFIL (United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon) called on both sides to de-escalate. “The situation is very serious,” the organization said.
UNIFIL boss Aroldo Lazaro is in contact with the authorities on both sides. UNIFIL blue helmets have been monitoring the border area between Israel and Lebanon since 1978. The Chinese government also expressed concern and called on both sides to exercise prudence.
This was preceded by clashes between Israeli security forces and Palestinians on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem. According to the Israeli police, more than 350 people were arrested on Wednesday night after “troublemakers” barricaded themselves in the Al-Aqsa Mosque on the Temple Mount. Stones were thrown at officials and firecrackers were set off. The Temple Mount is under Muslim administration while Israel is responsible for security.
After the riots in Islam’s third holiest site, rockets were fired at Israel from the Gaza Strip on Wednesday, prompting Israel to respond with its own attacks. Also on Thursday, rockets were fired from the Gaza Strip at targets in Israel.
Passover, Ramadan and Easter at the same time
Before the start of the Muslim month of fasting, Ramadan, around two weeks ago, there were fears that the already tense security situation in the Middle East would deteriorate. A particularly large number of Muslims are currently coming to the Temple Mount to pray there during the month of fasting.
The week-long Passover festival also began on Wednesday. One of the customs is a pilgrimage to Jerusalem. There are also several Easter celebrations in the old town.
kle/sti (dpa, afp, rtr, kna)