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Damage caused by Katyusha rocket (archives) Photo: Shai Vaknin
Damage caused by Katyusha rocket (archives) Photo: Shai Vaknin
 
 

2 rockets hit Nahariya area; no injuries

Explosion sounds heard in Western Galilee area at around 3:45 pm Friday; no air raid siren sounded. Lebanese security sources confirm Katyusha rockets fired into Israel. IDF fires artillery into southern Lebanon in response

Hagai Einav
Published: 09.11.09, 16:19 / Israel News

Explosion sounds were heard Friday afternoon in the Nahariya and Western Galilee area, according to reports received by the police, Magen David Adom and firefighting services from local residents.

 

The Israel Defense Forces confirmed that two 122-mllimeter rockets had hit open areas in northern Israel and that one of them had been located near a local kibbutz. There were no reports of injuries or damage.

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Lebanese security sources said that three rockets had been fired at Israel. Local media outlets reported that the rockets were fired from a village in the southern Tyre area.

 

The IDF fired artillery into orchards in the Tyre area in response to the rockets. According to Lebanese reports, at lease 15 shells had been fired from Israel.

 

Shortly after the rockets were fired, the IDF filed an official complaint with the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon. UNIFIL representatives were expected to arrive in the area and join the probe into the incident.

 

"As far as we are concerned, the Lebanese government is responsible for preventing any firing from its territory towards Israel. This is a serious incident and therefore our response was sharp and quick," an army official stressed.

 

Large police forces led by Kobi Bachar, deputy commander of the Galilee District Police, arrived at one of the rockets' landing site and began collecting evidence from citizens. Yehuda Shavit, head of the Mateh Asher Local Council, arrived at the area as well. "At this stage there is no change in our life routine," he said.


One of rockets' landing site (Photo: Ido Beker)

 

Nahariya resident Danny Ben Shabbat told Ynet, "I live in the Shprintzak neighborhood in the southern part of the city, and can identify Katyusha falls. I heard three falls at around 3:45 pm. My brother told me he saw many squad cars and ambulances leaving towards the fields. There was no air raid siren."

 

Yariv, another eyewitness, said: "We were at the beach when we suddenly heard a large explosion, followed by a huge mushroom smoke cloud in the air. We have not heard this noise for a long time, but it was clear to everyone that it had been caused by a Katyusha."

 

IDF: Hezbollah not interested in escalation

The last incident in which rockets were fired into Israeli territory took place on February 21, with two Katyushas landing near a house in a Western Galilee community. Three people were lightly injured and two suffered shock. A building sustained damage.

 

Lebanese sources had said at the time that another rocket fired exploded on Lebanese soil. The IDF had responded to the rockets by firing back into Lebanon.

 

Military sources estimated that Friday's rocket fire was a local incident, which does not point to a plan by Hezbollah or other Lebanese organizations to escalate the situation in the region. The officials mentioned several incidents in which Katyusha rockets were fired at Israel after the Second Lebanon War.

 

Ynet commentator Ron Ben-Yishai estimates that the rockets were fired on the backdrop of tensions between the anti-Syrian camp and Hezbollah over the establishment of a new government in Lebanon.

Nonetheless, it is unlikely that the rockets were fired by Hezbollah itself, but rather by a Palestinian organization or another group affiliated with the Global Jihad.

 

Lebanese Prime Minister-designate Saad Hariri announced Thursday that he had failed to reach an agreement on the composition of a unity government and would therefore give up on his efforts to form a government. However, Lebanese newspaper al-Akhbar reported Friday that Lebanese President Michel Suleiman was expected to ask Hariri to resume his efforts to form a government.

  

Initial information received via Red Email

 

News agencies, Olga Gouresky, Hanan Greenberg and Roee Nahmias contributed to this report

 

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