There has been cross border fire between Lebanese militants and the Israeli Defense Force (IDF) following the news that Hezbollah commander Samir Quntar was killed in an Israeli airstrike in Damascus.
Three rockets fired from Lebanon struck northern Israel, causing no damage or injuries, hours after the militant leader was reported killed on Sunday. Israel then fired artillery into southern Lebanon.
Prior to the latest events the Israel-Lebanon border had been relatively quiet ever since the war between Hezbollah and Israel in 2006.
The IDF “responded with targeted artillery fire following the rockets that hit Israel earlier today from southern Lebanon,” an army statement said.
Meanwhile, Lebanon’s national news agency NNA said Israel fired nine rounds of artillery at the south of the country.
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The commander of the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon, Luciano Portolano, said that two rockets exploded on Israeli territory and another one fell into the sea. In response, Israel fired at least 10 missiles at southern Lebanon.
“It is imperative to find out who was behind [the rocket fire] and detain them to avoid more incidents in the future,” TASS quoted Portolano as saying.
One of the rockets fired into Israel reportedly crashed in the Galilee region, Israeli military sources told AFP. The incident involved Katyusha-type rockets, according to the news agency.
Israeli residents were told take cover in bomb shelters.
The rocket fire began after the news broke out that Hezbollah-linked Lebanese militant Samir Kuntar, of the Palestine Liberation Front, has been killed in Damascus. Images from the scene show a collapsed multi-story residential building, with lots of rubble on the ground.
Hezbollah claimed that Kuntar was killed by an Israeli airstrike, while Syrian state media spoke of a “terror attack.” Meanwhile, Israel denied responsibility for the attack.