Terrorists in the Gaza Strip, Lebanon and Syria launched rockets at Israel in a number of separate incidents starting from the leil haseder and continuing through early Sunday morning.
Terrorists in Lebanon fired a heavy barrage of rockets at Israel on Thursday, the Israeli military said, forcing people across Israel’s northern frontier into bomb shelters, wounding at least two people, Yeshiva World News reported.
Israel’s military said 34 rockets had been fired across the border, and that 25 were shot down by its Iron Dome aerial defense system. Another five rockets struck Israeli territory and the rest of the strikes were being investigated, security forces added. The army’s response would come after “a situational assessment” and meeting by Israel’s Security Cabinet later Thursday, it said.
The unusually large salvo of rockets raised fears of a wider conflagration, as Israel’s bitter enemy, the Iran-backed militant group Hezbollah, holds sway over much of southern Lebanon. Over the past two days, tensions have skyrocketed at the sacred compound home to the Al-Aqsa mosque in Jerusalem and along Israel’s tense border with Gaza.
In a briefing with reporters, Lt. Col. Richard Hecht, an Israeli military spokesman, said the army drew a clear connection between the rocket fire and the recent unrest in Jerusalem.
“It’s a Palestinian-oriented event,” he said, adding that either the Hamas or Islamic Jihad militant groups could be involved. But he said the army believed that Hezbollah and the Lebanese government were aware of what happened and also held responsibility. He declined to say how Israel might respond, saying there were “all sorts of scenarios.”
Earlier on Thursday and late Wednesday night, Palestinian terrorists in the Gaza Strip fired several rockets toward Israel in protest after Israeli police stormed into the Al-Aqsa Mosque in the heart of Jerusalem’s Old City with tear gas and stun grenades to evacuate Arabs who had barricaded themselves inside. On Thursday, Hezbollah condemned Israel’s storming of Al-Aqsa, calling it “a flagrant violation”.
No faction in Lebanon claimed responsibility for the salvo of rockets, which set off air raid sirens across the country’s north. A Lebanese security official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak to media, said the country’s security forces believed the rockets were launched by a Lebanon-based Palestinian militant group, not by Hezbollah militants. The official said there were no casualties on the Lebanese side.
In Israel, Thursday’s rocket fire from Lebanon sent shrapnel flying that wounded at least two people, according to the Galilee Medical Center. They included a 19-year-old man who was struck while driving in the Arab village of Fassouta and a 26-year-old hit while riding a motorbike. Israeli police said a bomb squad removed a number of fragments from areas in the north.
Videos on social media showed massive plumes of dark smoke billowing from Israel’s northern hills and streaks through the sky left by the Iron Dome system. Widely circulated photos showed shrapnel that punched a hole in a street in the northern Israeli town of Shlomi and at least one building with its windows blown out.
Lebanon’s state-run National News Agency, along with Lebanese officials, reported that Israeli tanks along the border fired shells toward southern Lebanese towns near the Rashidiyeh Palestinian refugee camp in response to the rocket fire. Hecht, the army spokesman, denied the claim and said there had been no Israeli fire.
On Motzei Shabbos and early Sunday morning, six rockets were launched from southern Syria at the Golan Heights in two separate barrages hours apart, with three landing in Israeli territory, the military said.
After the second barrage, the Israel Defense Forces said it carried out artillery and drone strikes in southern Syria, targeting the launch pads that had been used to launch the rockets, Times of Israel reported.
Earlier, the IDF said Saturday night that three rockets were fired, of which one crossed the border and landed in an open area near the northern Israeli town of Meitsar. An incoming rocket alert was activated in an open area near the town shortly before, the IDF said.
One of the other two projectiles fell short in Syria, with the second landing in Jordan.
The Iron Dome air defense system was not used in that barrage as the projectiles were headed for an unpopulated area, the IDF said.
Hours later, around 3 a.m., three more rockets were fired from southern Syria at Israeli towns in the Golan Heights, the military said.
One of the projectiles in the second barrage was intercepted by Iron Dome, while another landed in an open area near the towns of Natur and Avnei Eitan. The third projectile apparently fell short in Syria.
There were no injuries or damage, according to the Golan Regional Council, which ordered residents of the southern Golan Heights to open public bomb shelters, stay near safe zones, and follow the updating Home Front Command orders.
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