More than 30 Rockets Fired into Israel from Lebanon—Major Escalation on Northern Front
The joyous celebrations of Passover were rocked by the scream of air raid sirens across northern Israel on Thursday as 34 rockets were launched into Israel from Lebanon. The Israel Defense Forces Iron Dome intercepted 25 of them, but several made it through, resulting in two people being injured by shrapnel.
This is the largest rocket barrage out of Lebanon in 17 years and marks a serious escalation in the tensions between Lebanon and Israel. The Lebanon Army denied any responsibility for the attack. IDF concurred, believing it to be the action of Hamas, although Hezbollah also indicated their support of the provocation.
Black billows of smoke covered areas of northern Israel from several fires that broke out due to the rocket attack. Also, civilian flights over the area have been canceled by Israeli authorities until the situation is under control.
Israelis, despite experiencing severe internal divisions in both the Knesset and the public, were quick to come together. Israel launched several airstrikes in the Gaza Strip in the middle of the night, targeting Hamas sites. They also bombed Hamas tagets inside of Lebanon. Israel warned Lebanon, that even if they didn’t shoot the rockets, they will be held responsible for acts of terror launched from their territory.
On Friday, Israel Defense Forces issued a statement warning their northern neighbor. The IDF “will not allow the Hamas terrorist organization to operate from within Lebanon and holds the state of Lebanon responsible for every directed fire emanating from its territory.”
The last significant rocket assault out of Lebanon was in 2006. Two years ago, Hezbollah fired 19 rockets into the region, but overall, it has been relatively quiet on that front for Israel for many years.
As is often the case, Israel is ground zero for the convergence of Passover, Ramadan, and Easter. The first couple weeks of the month-long celebration of Ramadan were mostly quiet, but Tuesday night, the Israeli Police and Palestinians clashed at the Al Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem.
On Wednesday, Hamas fired rockets into Israel from Gaza in retaliation for clashes in Jerusalem. Later in the day, the Israeli Air Force struck several targets in Gaza, trying to quell the outbreak there.