Lebanon News

Israeli warplanes fly over Lebanon after rocket fired in south

HOULA, Lebanon: Israeli warplanes flew over south Lebanon, the Bekaa Valley and Beirut Monday morning after a woman was wounded in the south when a Katyusha rocket, apparently aimed at Israel, hit her home.

A security source told The Daily Star that four Israeli jets flew at high altitude between 9:30 a.m. and 10 a.m. Monday over villages in the Bint Jbeil border area in south Lebanon and the Bekaa Valley in the east before hovering in circles over the capital.

Naseera Ali Abbas, 55, was wounded in various parts of her body, including seriously in her leg, when a rocket penetrated the ceiling and landed in the bedroom of her house in the border town of Houla shortly before midnight.

Her seven-year-old son, who was sleeping in bed with her, was unscathed, added the source, who spoke to The Daily Star on condition of anonymity.

The Lebanese Army and UNIFIL confirmed the attack.

The rocket was fired from Wadi al-Qaissiya, which borders Majdal Silm, known to be a rocket-launching site during the 2006 30 Day war, when dozens of missiles were fired into Israel.

There were no immediate comments from Hezbollah on the Katyusha attack.

“The party is likely to issue a statement once the probe has been completed,” Hezbollah’s office told The Daily Star.

UNIFIL Force Commander Maj. Gen. Alberto Asarta strongly condemned the rocket attack and expressed serious concern at the recent escalation of incidents involving serious security breaches in southern Lebanon.

“This is the third incident involving serious security breaches south of the Litani River in a period of two weeks. These instances show that despite all our efforts there continue to be weapons and hostile armed elements ready to use them within our area of operations,” the statement quoted Asarta as saying.

The incident follows a Nov. 29 rocket attack on Israel, when at least one missile fired from south Lebanon hit the Western Galilee region, prompting Israeli troops to retaliate by firing six artillery shells. It was the first such incident in two years.

It also comes three days after a roadside bomb hit a UNIFIL vehicle near Tyre, wounding five French peacekeepers.

Israeli troops were reportedly patrolling Monday the fence along the border with Lebanon, particularly the area adjacent to al-Abbad position which overlooks Houla.

Lebanese troops threw a security dragnet Monday around Naseera's home and opened a probe into the rocket attack.

Asarta said UNIFIL and the Lebanese Army were talking concrete measures together to further reinforce security across the area of operations. He added that efforts continued in order to identify and apprehend the perpetrators of these attacks.

“There is clearly a need for further enhancing security control in the area. Recent efforts by certain elements have been directed at destabilizing the area and we simply cannot allow such acts of violence that endanger the safety of the local population and the security of southern Lebanon.”

“One of the most important provisions of U.N. Security Council Resolution 1701 is to ensure that there are no armed personnel, assets and weapons other than those of the government of Lebanon and of UNIFIL in the area between the Blue Line and the Litani River,” he added.





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