WASHINGTON – Israel filed a complaint with the United Nations on Friday evening following the firing of two rockets from southern Lebanon to the Western Galilee, saying the Lebanese government was responsible for the incident.
Israeli Ambassador Prof. Gabriela Shalev sent a letter to the Security Council's relieving president, US Ambassador Susan Rice, and to UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, in which she wrote that the rocket fire was another example of the presence of weapons and terror activity south of the Litani River.
She referred to the incident as a blatant violation of Security Council Resolution 1701, and said that Israel views the Lebanese government as fully responsible for the incident, as it has failed to ensure that its territory is free of gunmen who are not official Lebanese or UNIFIL forces.
Earlier Friday, the UN secretary-general condemned the firing of Katyusha rockets from Lebanon into Israel, calling on both sides to exercise maximum restraint.
Ban said in a statement that "the parties must fully adhere to Security Council Resolution 1701 (which ended the Second Lebanon War) and respect the cessation of hostilities agreement."
The UN chief condemned the firing of at least two rockets towards Israel from southern Lebanon, but did not denounce the Israel Defense Forces' artillery retaliation fire toward the city of Tyre.
UN peacekeeping troops known as UNIFIL were "investigating the circumstances of the incident" in cooperation with the Lebanese army, Ban's statement said.
The United States also condemned the firing of rockets from southern Lebanon into Israel. State Department spokesman Crowley said that his country "strongly condemns" the attacks, which he said were in violation of the call for a cessation of hostilities contained in UN Resolution 1701.
Crowley linked the incident to the explosion of a Hezbollah weapons depot on July 14, saying the two events underlined the urgent need to place weapons in Lebanon under control.
IDF and UNIFIL soldiers examining rocket (Photo: Hagai Aharon)
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.
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.
Reuters and AFP contributed to this report