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Lebanon News

Hezbollah main suspect in Golan Heights rocket attack

  • File - The Israeli post in Mount Hermon, Monday, Sept. 9, 2013. (The Daily Star/Mohammed Zaatari)

NAQOURA, Lebanon: The rocket attack on an Israeli post over the weekend is widely believed to be retaliation for airstrikes on a Hezbollah target near the Lebanese-Syrian border, security and military sources told The Daily Star Sunday.

A report in the Israeli daily Yediot Ahronot said the attack occurred Friday night, but wasn’t discovered until Saturday morning.

“Two rockets exploded near an IDF outpost on Mount Hermon. It was discovered Saturday morning. No damage or injuries were caused,” the newspaper said.

“At first it was thought the rockets were ‘spillover’ from the internal Syrian conflict, but later the possibility that the rockets were fired by Hezbollah in response to Israel’s alleged airstrike on its munitions last week was raised.”

Multiple military and security sources, who refused to speak on the record due to the sensitivity of the situation, told The Daily Star that the rocket attack was most likely staged by Hezbollah in retaliation for last week’s airstrikes.

Israeli planes bombed an area controlled by Hezbollah on Lebanon’s eastern border on Feb. 24, apparently targeting a “qualitative” weapons shipment to the party, a security source told The Daily Star last week.

The source said Israeli planes launched four rockets on the Janta area in the mountains separating the Lebanese village of Nabi Sheet from the Syrian border.

Fearing a retaliation, the Israeli army command consequently raised its alert level, with Yediot Ahronot reporting, “Troops on the Golan Heights were also instructed to raise the level of alert out of concern retaliatory strikes will come from the Syrian side of the border.”

The rising tensions also led the Israeli military to change the type of vehicles used by troops patrolling the border, according to the Israeli newspaper, and Israeli soldiers securing the border were given armor-protected Humvees instead of the light defenders usually used.

The newspaper said the alert level was also extended to Israeli embassies around the world.

Separately Sunday, a security source said that stray gunfire from Israel had damaged a vehicle in south Lebanon, adding that there were no casualties in the incident.

The sources, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said at least one bullet struck a car belonging to Hussein Ali Tohem in the Bint Jbeil village of Ramieh.

They said the source of the gunfire was the Bayyad area on the Israeli side of the border, where the Israeli army was believed to be conducting military exercises.

The Israeli army spokesperson said his command was investigating the incident. United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon spokesperson Andrea Tenenti said it was investigating the report.

“The situation in the region is calm,” he said.

The Israeli army alert continued on the borders with Lebanon, with its soldiers deploying camouflaged in the orchards near the U.N.-demarcated Blue Line and in the occupied Shebaa Farms. Israel was also conducting regular drone flights above Lebanon’s southern regions.

 
A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Daily Star on March 03, 2014, on page 3.
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Summary

The rocket attack on an Israeli post over the weekend is widely believed to be retaliation for airstrikes on a Hezbollah target near the Lebanese-Syrian border, security and military sources told The Daily Star Sunday.

Multiple military and security sources, who refused to speak on the record due to the sensitivity of the situation, told The Daily Star that the rocket attack was most likely staged by Hezbollah in retaliation for last week's airstrikes.

The sources, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said at least one bullet struck a car belonging to Hussein Ali Tohem in the Bint Jbeil village of Ramieh.

They said the source of the gunfire was the Bayyad area on the Israeli side of the border, where the Israeli army was believed to be conducting military exercises.


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