Overnight three rockets struck Israel from southern Lebanon, marking the second instance of crossfire between the Mediterranean states since the beginning of the military offensive in the besieged Gaza Strip. The rockets landed in Nahariya, a beachside community ten kilometers from the Lebanese border. Lebanese officials and a United Nations monitoring group have combed the area, but have yet to find the launch site or name the group who is responsible.
Israel responded last night by firing retaliatory artillery shells into the area where the rockets are presumed to have been launched from, in Zebqin and Qulayleh. Lebanon’s Daily Star noted that there are two Palestinian refugee camps in that region, which are thought to be the launch site. No injuries or casualties were reported on either side.
On Friday two grad rockets were fired from Lebanon, and Lebanese police made an arrest following the incident where they also discovered additional materials prepared for launch. That operation was carried out by the armed group al-Jamaa al-Islamiya. The Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) also sent 25 artillery shells to the location where the first round of rockets was fired.
Al-Qassam Brigades Twitter account posted last night that a newly armed wing called Mohammed Abu Khdeir Brigades was responsible for launching the attack on Israel. Although there is no confirmation on culpability, it seems unlikely that the rockets came from Hezbollah who typically claims responsibility after targeting Israel.
What is most plausible is that the on-going air-strikes levied at the Gaza Strip, which have claimed the lives of more than 160 Palestinians in less than one week, is sparking attacks from Palestinians and their sympathizers in southern Lebanon rather than renewed hostilities between Hezbollah and Israel. The foes have remained relatively quiet since ceasefire in 2006, despite regular violations, including Israeli forces invading Lebanese air space and surveillance, and the incomplete disarmament of Hezbollah.