MOUNT DOV - Tensions mount: IDF forces attacked Hizbullah targets in Lebanon Friday afternoon, after at least 12 mortar shells were fired at army outposts in the Mount Dov area, on the northern border.
No injuries were reported in the mortar attacks.
The Hizbullah claimed responsibility for the barrage, saying it was fired in response to Israeli attacks on Lebanese targets.
In response to the mortar strike, IDF fighter jets, helicopters, and tanks bombarded Hizbullah positions in Lebanon.
According to Lebanese media sources, the IDF fired several missiles at Hizbullah targets near Mount Dov. The sources said civilian targets were also fired at, including two Lebanese towns, but no injuries were reported.
'Army prepared to respond'
IDF Northern Command Head Benny Gantz pointed the finger at Lebanon and said he considers the Lebanese government responsible for the latest mortar and rocket attacks.
"The Lebanese government must ensure such things don't happen," he said.
Regarding the IDF's retaliation, Gantz said the army would offer a more serious response if needed.
"The army is prepared to respond, we have the means, and we'll employ all of them if needed," he said.
The latest attacks could be a result of internal Lebanese affairs and constitute an attempt by various groups to signal their importance, Gantz said, but added such acts cannot come at Israel's expense.
Rocket hits bakery
Friday morning, a senior security official told Ynet Israel would not be able to restrain itself if the attacks in the north persisted.
"If anyone on the Lebanese side believes Israel will remain with its hands tied for long, he is wrong," he said.
On Thursday, an explosion shook the Mount Dov area, just one day after a rocket attack badly damaged a bakery in the northern town of Shlomi. No injuries were reported.
IDF officials told Ynet that two rockets landed in the area, but IDF forces in the area were unable to identify the source of the rockets, and therefore did not return fire.
No damage was reported to IDF positions in the area.
Northern Command officials do not reject the possibility that there is a connection between the two Independence Day attacks. They believe the attacks were carried out by Palestinian terrorists trying to capitalize on Israel’s self-imposed restraint, rather than Hizbullah.
Officials say Palestinian groups do not take into account “political” or “balance of terror” considerations generally considered by Hizbullah. Hizbullah spokesmen refused to comment on the attacks.
“These tiny organizations are uncontrollable,” said one spokesman. “Therefore, we have a fundamental problem responding to them. They have no means to wage a broad fight (against Israel), but they certainly have the means to drag the region to escalation."