Israel claimed on Thursday (5) the first air strikes in Lebanon in several years, claiming that it targeted rocket launching sites after shots coming from the south of the neighboring country against the north of the Hebrew state.
“Army fighter planes targeted launch sites and infrastructure, from which rockets were fired in Lebanon with the aim of terrorizing,” says a military statement that does not mention Hezbollah, the very influential Lebanese armed movement in southern Lebanon. neighbouring country.
Israeli aviation regularly bombs alleged positions of the Palestinian Islamist Hamas movement in the Gaza Strip and also carries out operations in neighboring Syria, where it attacks targets of pro-Iran elements.
But the last air strikes announced in Lebanon had taken place in 2014, the Israeli army confirmed to AFP, and took place after an exchange of fire at the border.
The official Lebanese news agency also reported the attacks but gave no further details.
Lebanese President Michel Aoun said that “Israel’s use of its air force to attack Lebanese villages is the first of its kind since 2006 and suggests an intention to intensify attacks” against Lebanon.
According to the pro-Hezbollah Lebanese television network Al-Manar, two Israeli air strikes took place around 00:40 (18:40 GMT) in the Mahmudiya sector, about ten kilometers from the border between the two countries.
The pro-Hezbollah Lebanese newspaper Al-Akhbar accused Israel of having crossed “the red line” with these attacks, which constitute a “dangerous” act and violate commitments in force since the 2006 war between the Hebrew state and the Lebanese Shiite movement .
According to the same newspaper, these Israeli attacks hit an uninhabited area.
– Series of attacks –
No injuries were reported, but four people in shock were treated by Magen David Adom, the Israeli equivalent of the Red Cross, the organization said.
Shortly after these shots, the Israeli army launched three series of attacks towards Lebanon.
Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz has called for a “strong message” to be sent to UNIFIL, the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon, located in the south of the country, on the border with Israel, according to his cabinet.
Present in Lebanon since 1978, UNIFIL has been monitoring the Israeli border since 2006 in coordination with the Lebanese Army and ensuring the implementation of UN Security Council resolution 1701, adopted after the war between Israel and Hezbollah.
The UN mission commander, Gen. Stefano Del Col, urged “the parties” to “cease the fire and exercise maximum restraint to avoid an escalation, especially on this solemn anniversary day”, in reference to the first anniversary of the explosion in port of Beirut.
On August 4, 2020, the explosion of hundreds of tons of ammonium nitrate left 214 dead, more than 6,500 injured and devastated several neighborhoods in the capital of Lebanon, a country mired in the worst socioeconomic crisis in its history.
These firefights at the border coincide with the resurgence of tensions between the Hebrew state and Iran after a deadly attack on the oil tanker “Mercer Street”. The ship is managed by the company of an Israeli billionaire in the Arabian Sea.
The attack, which was not claimed, left two dead: a Briton employed by the security company Ambrey and a Romanian crew member, according to Israeli shipowner Eyal Ofer’s Zodiac Maritime.
Backed by the United States and the United Kingdom, Israel quickly accused Iran of being linked to the maneuver, which Tehran denied.
Still, Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett said he had “evidence” of Iran’s role in the matter and promised an Israeli response.
“We know how to send a message to Iran in our own way,” he warned earlier this week.
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