Israel launches airstrikes on Lebanon in response to rocket attacks
Israel on Thursday launched its first airstrikes on Lebanon in seven years in response to recent rocket attacks across the bordering territory. The Israeli Defence Forces (IDF) issued a statement, confirming that its fighter jets struck the launch sites and infrastructure in Lebanon that were used for firing rockets the previous day.
“In response to the rockets fired from Lebanon toward Israel today (Thursday), IDF artillery forces are currently striking targets along the Lebanese border,” the IDF tweeted. Blaming the Lebanese government for carrying out the rocket attack, Israel warned Beirut against further attempts to harm citizens and the country’s sovereignty.
“An additional target in the area from which rockets have been launched in the past was struck as well. This incident, like many others, strengthens the need to actively enforce UN Security Council Resolution 1701,” the Israeli Air Force added.
Lebanon rocket attacks on Israel
On Wednesday three rockets were launched from Lebanon into the Israeli territory. As per the Israeli ministry, two of the rockets struck near the northern town of Kiryat Shmona. “The army responded with sustained artillery fire,” Israel’s military added.
According to the Lebanese army, 92 artillery shells were fired by Israel that landed in southern Lebanon, resulting in a fire in the Rashaya al-Fukhar village and nearby areas.
Responding to the Israeli airstrikes, Lebanese President Michel Aoun tweeted that Israel’s use of air force to target villages in the country indicates “the presence of aggressive, escalatory intentions” against Lebanon. He further affirmed to submit a complaint to the United Nations.
Call for ceasefire
The UN peacekeeping force UNIFIL has called on both sides to exercise maximum restraint to avoid further escalation of the situation.
“It is imperative to restore stability immediately so UNIFIL can begin its investigation,” Major General Stefano Del Col, UNIFIL’s head of mission and force commander, said.
US State Department spokesman Ned Price also condemned the rocket attack from Lebanon on Israel. Speaking with reporters, Price said that Washington will continue to engage in dialogues with partners in the region to ensure de-escalation of the situation.
“Israel has the right to defend itself against such attacks,” he told reporters.
The conflict has come at a time when Lebanon marked the first anniversary of the massive explosion in Beirut port that resulted in the death of more than 200 people and unprecedented destructions of infrastructure across the capital city. For almost nine months now, the crisis-hit country has been struggling to establish a fully functional cabinet and government.