Lebanon News

Rocket launchers found in south Lebanon

A Lebanese Army soldier carries an Israeli shell in the Dimashqeyeh village, southern Lebanon, Tuesday, August 26, 2014. (The Daily Star/Mohammed Zaatari)

DIMASHQEYEH, Lebanon: The Lebanese Army Tuesday found the launch pads used to fire rockets into northern Israel a day before that drew a barrage of Israeli retaliatory fire on south Lebanon, a security source said.

A 100-strong Army unit discovered the rocket launchers overnight while they searched the Jermaq area near the Litani River, after two rockets were fired on northern Israel Monday evening from that location.

A technical failure prevented one of the three rockets from firing, the source said.

The Army said in a statement that soldiers found a launch pad and another rocket ready to be launched in Jermaq.

The Army combed several areas near the Litani River including Jermaq, Dimashqeyeh, outskirts of Qleiah and Khardali and found Israeli shells that were fired in retaliation to the rocket attack.

Qassem Zaher, a shepherd in Dimashqeyeh, said three shells from Israel landed near his house.

“I immediately took my wife and two children to the basement for two hours until the shelling stopped,” Zaher told The Daily Star.

Although U.N. Interim Force in Lebanon did not accompany the Army to Dimasheqeyeh, which falls within the peacekeeping force’s area of operation, UNIFIL patrols were seen along the Blue Line Fatima Gate in Kfar Kila.

The rocket fire from the Jermaq area came two days after a similar attack Saturday. Dozens of shells landed on the river’s banks near Jermaq and Aishieh as a result of retaliatory Israeli fire, a security source told The Daily Star Monday, adding that the Lebanese Army had cordoned off the area in search of the perpetrators. The Army also closed the road linking Adaisseh to Kfar Kila due to the intensity of the shelling.

In mid-July, at least nine rockets were fired from Lebanon at northern Israel, prompting Israel to retaliate with artillery fire. Lebanese military officials at the time said they believed the attacks were carried out by a small Palestinian group in solidarity with Gaza.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Daily Star on August 26, 2014, on page 1.




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