Lebanon strikes Israel causing troops to hit back
JERUSALEM - A rocket fired from Lebanon struck northern Israel early Friday, causing troops to hit back with artillery fire over the border, the Israeli army said.
The rocket hit an open area near Metula at Israel's northernmost tip without causing casualties or damage, the army said.
"A rocket fired from Lebanon hit an open area near Metula a short time ago. In response, IDF (army) forces opened fire at the source of rocket fire," an army statement said.
Israeli army spokesman Lieutenant Colonel Peter Lerner said artillery units had fired a barrage at "suspicious positions" sighted over the border.
A military spokeswoman said that Israel had filed a complaint to the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL), which monitors the border between Lebanon and Israel, following the incident.
Israeli public radio said two Katyusha rockets slammed into an area north of Kiryat Shmona, near Metula, one of which struck a road which was deserted at the time.
Military officials told the radio they believed the attack was carried out by a small Palestinian group in an act of solidarity with militants from Gaza's Islamist Hamas movement who are engaged in a major confrontation with the Israeli army which began on Tuesday.
They said it was unlikely the rockets were fired by the Shiite Hezbollah movement, which controls southern Lebanon, as it did not want pick a fight with Israel at this stage.
The Lebanese army said in a statement that three rockets were launched towards Israel by "an unknown group" from the Marjayun-Hasbaya area of southern Lebanon.
It did not indicate whether any of the projectiles had landed inside Israel.
The statement added that the military had deployed troops to patrol and search the area.
Troops "managed to find rocket launch pads, as well as two rockets ready for launching. A military expert arrived at the scene and dismantled the projectiles," the statement said.
It added that Israel had launched "25 shells" at Lebanon, causing no casualties.
A Lebanese security source said the situation at the border was now calm.
"No one was hurt, the shelling hit the fields, not houses, the source said, adding that one man had been detained by the security forces for questioning.