Israel hits Lebanon with rocket fire

14 Jan 2009 -- Israel has reportedly fired at least seventeen rockets into southern Lebanon within minutes after being hit by rockets from the country.

"Between one and three rockets were launched from an area four kilometers west of the village of Shebaa and Israel responded within a minute with four rockets that landed north of Ghajar," AFP quoted a Lebanese security official as saying.

Lebanon's LBC TV confirmed the firing of two rockets from Hassbia in southern Lebanon into the northern Israeli town of Kiryat Shmouna, saying Israel is responding with continuous rocket fire.

Israeli jets violated Lebanese airspace following the incident.

Hezbollah and Palestinian factions have ruled out any involvement in the rocket firing and there is speculation that people angry over the Israeli war on Gaza have launched the attacks.

UNIFIL peacekeepers have also failed to comment on the incident so far.

Last week, four rockets were launched from southern Lebanon into the northern Israeli towns of Nahariya and Galeli, wounding four Israelis.

Following the incident last week, the Israeli army fired five rockets on the southern Lebanese towns of Hamra, al- Jiben, and Tayr Harfa, where the rockets were believed to have been launched. However they landed in desert areas and caused no damage or casualties.

The Lebanese Hezbollah said that it was not responsible for the rocket fire. Tel Aviv later ruled out the possibility of Hezbollah being involved in the incident, saying the rockets were of an outdated model that Hezbollah had not used for years.

Referring to the UN Security Council Resolution 1701 that brought an end to the Israeli 33-day war against Lebanon in 2006, Lebanese Information Minister Tarek Mitri said, "Hezbollah has assured us that they remain committed to stability and Resolution 1701, and that is a euphemism for saying they are not involved".

The Hamas movement also denied allegations that it was behind the attack last week.

No group had claimed responsibility for the rocket attacks. Since then Israeli warplanes have intensified their overflights over southwestern Lebanon. (MSH/AA @PRESS TV)

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