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 Rockets from Lebanon hit Israel

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PostSubject: Rockets from Lebanon hit Israel   Rockets from Lebanon hit Israel Icon_minitimeThu Jan 08, 2009 6:55 am

Rockets from Lebanon hit Israel

Several rockets fired from Lebanon have hit northern Israel, Israeli police say.

At least three rockets landed in the town of Nahariya, about 8km south of the Lebanese border, on Thursday causing slight injuries.

The attack was followed by reports of a second missile strike, but officials later said it was a false alarm.

The Israeli military fired mortars into southern Lebanon in response to the initial attack.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the attacks, but Jacky Rowland, Al Jazeera's correspondent in southern Israel, said analysts were suggesting that the rocket attack could have been carried out by Palestinians in southern Lebanon.

She said the firing of rockets from Lebanon "could mean the opening of a second front" in the war on Gaza which has left at least 700 Palestinians dead.

Military alert

The Israeli military has been on alert in the north since it intensified the Gaza offensive, which it says is aimed at stopping rocket and mortar attacks by Palestinian fighters in the Gaza Strip.

"We took into account there would be an attempt by Palestinian groups to express solidarity," Shalom Simchon, an Israeli cabinet minister, said.

Lebanon is home to more than 400,000 Palestinian refugees, according to UN figures.

Al Jazeera's James Bays, reporting from northern Israel, said one of the rockets hit a retirement home.

"The residents of the home are very distressed by what has happened," he said. "People here haven't got to the stage they have in the south where many people have left their homes."

Hamas denial

The Palestinian Hamas group, which has been targeted by the ongoing Israeli aerial and ground assault on Gaza, denied it carried out the attack from southern Lebanon.

"Hamas is pursuing its combat inside Palestine and our principle is not to use any other Arab soil to respond to the occupation," Raafat Morra, a Hamas spokesman, told the AFP news agency.

Tarek Mitri, Lebanon's information minister, said the Hezbollah movement, which fought a war with Israel in 2006, had made it clear it was not behind the rocket attack.

"Hezbollah has assured us that they remain committed to stability and Resolution 1701 and that is a euphemism for saying they are not involved," he said, referring the UN Security Council resolution that ended the conflict.

The last time Katyushas were fired from Lebanon was in June 2007. Hezbollah denied responsibility and Israel blamed an unnamed Palestinian group.

Andrea Tenenti, a spokesman for the UN peacekeeping mission in Lebanon, told Al Jazeera it was "taking immediate measures to identify the perpetrators of the attack".

"Additional troops have been deployed on the ground and patrols have been intensified across all our areas of operation to prevent any further incidents," he said.

Conflict warning

On Wednesday, Hassan Nasrallah, the leader of Lebanon's Hezbollah, warned that "all possibilities" were open against Israel as he gave a speech condemning Israel's offensive in Gaza and voicing support for Hamas.

About 1,200 mostly Lebanese civilians were killed as the Shia Muslim movement fought the Israeli military.

Addressing tens of thousands of supporters via video link at his stronghold in Beirut's suburbs, Nasrallah said: "I say to [Ehud] Olmert [Israel's prime minister], the loser, the vanquished in Lebanon that 'you cannot overcome Hamas or Hezbollah'."

The comments marked the first time he has spoken so openly on the possibility of a renewed conflict with Israel since the war in Gaza began on December 27.

Nasrallah warned that the 2006 conflict would be "but a walk in the park" compared to what awaits Israel if it launches a new offensive on Lebanon.

"We have to act as though all possibilities are real and open [against Israel] and we must always be ready for any eventuality.

"We are ready to sacrifice our souls, our brothers and sisters, our children, our loved ones for what we believe in."
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PostSubject: Re: Rockets from Lebanon hit Israel   Rockets from Lebanon hit Israel Icon_minitimeThu Jan 08, 2009 7:05 am

'Lebanon liable for Nahariya attack'

Two people were lightly wounded on Thursday morning when terrorists in Lebanon fired three Katyusha rockets at the Nahariya area in northern Israel. The IDF returned fire.

One of the rockets went through the roof of a Nahariya retirement home and exploded in the kitchen as about 25 elderly residents were eating breakfast in the adjacent dining hall. One resident suffered a broken leg and another sustained bruises, both apparently from slipping on the floor after emergency sprinklers came on.

"The rocket went through the roof, hurling the water heaters into the air. It went through upstairs bedrooms and then into the kitchen. There was a massive blast," said Henry Carmelli, the home's manager.

The IDF's Northern Command held consultations following the attack, saying that "Israel holds the government of Lebanon and the Lebanese armed forces responsible for preventing rocket fire into Israel." The army also said that Palestinian elements were interested in "dragging Lebanon into a war."

The army advised citizens of the North to return to normalcy, saying that the attack was an isolated incident.

According to Northern Command assessments, the salvo was probably fired by Palestinian terror groups and not by Hizbullah, but the possibility that Hizbullah instructed another group to fire at Israel could not be ruled out.

"Nothing happens in Lebanon without a green light from Hizbullah," a defense official said. "Even if it was a Palestinian group who fired the rockets, Hizbullah would have to at least have turned a blind eye to allow the rocket fire."

Hizbullah denied involvement in the attack.

A Lebanese government official said the country was trying to determine who launched the rockets. The official also said Lebanon is committed to a UN-brokered truce that ended the Second Lebanon War in 2006.

An Al Jazeera reporter with close ties to Hizbullah said there was no chance the rockets were fired by the Shi'ite terror group, because the rockets were of an outdated model that Hizbullah had not used for years. Channel 10 also quoted him as saying that had Hizbullah wished to open a second front on Israel's North it would have fired dozens of rockets and not only three.

Shlomi Mayor Gabi Na'aman told Channel 10 that the municipality decided to cancel schools on Thursday, but later in the day, the Home Front Command allowed people to go to work and children to go to school throughout the Western Galilee.

On Wednesday, Hizbullah leader Hassan Nasrallah stepped up his rhetoric against Israel, warning that the IDF could not destroy Hamas and that Israel would suffer another "defeat" should it attack Lebanon.

In a speech broadcast on Arab media channels, Nasrallah vowed to crush any offensive Israel might launch against Hizbullah.

Israel had warned Hizbullah against opening another front, saying it would retaliate massively.

The rockets were fired from the southern town of Nakoura, where, in late December, the Lebanese army discovered and defused eight Katyusha rockets pointed at Israel.

Brenda Gazzar contributed to this report
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PostSubject: Re: Rockets from Lebanon hit Israel   Rockets from Lebanon hit Israel Icon_minitimeThu Jan 08, 2009 7:08 am

Israel artillery fire hits Lebanon

Tel Aviv has fired five mortar rounds at Lebanon, claiming that the assault was in retaliation for rocket attacks on its northern towns.

According to Israeli officials four rockets landed on northern Israel early on Thursday, a Press TV correspondent reported. Israeli sources said 4 settlers were injured in the attack.

Israeli Police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld said the rockets landed around the town of Nahariya, 8 km (5 miles) south of the Lebanese border. Tel Aviv claims the rockets were launched from southern Lebanon.

Lebanon's Hezbollah, however, says it is not responsible for the alleged firing of rockets at Israel.

An army spokesperson said that following the attack the Israeli military launched missiles onto Lebanon in what it described as 'retaliatory' fire.

Hezbollah's al-Manar television and Lebanese officials announced that five mortar rounds had landed on the Lebanese soil near the southern border with Israel. However, the artillery landed on desert areas causing no damage or casualties, Press TV's Beirut correspondent, Ali Rizk, reported.

Israeli warplanes breached Lebanon's airspace following the incident, conducting overflights over southern Lebanon.

Despite claims made by Israeli officials that Tel Aviv is not interested in opening a new front against Hezbollah in the north, Israeli reconnaissance aircraft regularly fly over Lebanon.

On December 28, a day after Tel Aviv launched its bloody airstrikes on the Gaza Strip, Israeli warplanes conducted overflights at a low altitude over south Lebanon, violating the country's airspace in breach of UN Security Council resolution 1701.

Meanwhile, Israeli media say the rocket attacks were most likely fired by Palestinian groups in retaliation for the 13-day-long Israeli aggression against the Gaza Strip.

Radio and television reports cited unnamed military sources saying the incident was likely to be an 'isolated attack'.

The Hamas movement has also denied the reports that it was behind the shelling. "We cannot blame any Palestinian faction and we don't know who fired the rockets," said Hamas spokesman in Lebanon, Raafat Morra.

"Hamas is pursuing its combat inside Palestine and our principle is not to use any other Arab soil to respond to the occupation. This is our firm policy," he said.

"Basically what is happening is the fault of Israel because it is impossible to contain the Arab and Islamic world after the Gaza massacre."

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