And He commanded the skies above, and opened the doors of heaven; (Psalms 78:23)
Four rockets from Lebanon were fired into northern Israel on Thursday afternoon, setting off air raid sirens and the Iron Dome anti-missile system, which intercepted one rocket, according to The Times of Israel. While there was no reports of casualties, a number of homes in Nahariya reportedly sustained damage. The siren was sounded in Nahariya, Acre, Kiryat Shmona and Karmiel, with residents reportedly hearing explosions, according to the Times. Israeli TV aired footage of the damaged homes. Another rocket, which fell near Acre, damaged a few homes as well. Three were treated for shock.
According to another Times of Israel report, a facility in Acre holding a large number of Holocaust survivors came very close to being hit by one of the four rockets.The survivors, who live in a facility comprising several buildings in the area, heard sirens wailing ahead of the rocket attack, but were unable to reach bomb shelters before the rocket struck.
Lebanese media reported that two volleys of rockets had been fired from a Palestinian refugee camp near the Lebanese town of Tyre. There was an attempt to fire a third volley, but the missiles fell short of the border.The IDF said four makeshift rocket launchers had been located east of Tyre.
The Abdullah Azzam Brigades, an al-Qaeda-inspired group based in Lebanon, claimed responsibility for the attack in a post on the Twitter account of Sirajuddin Zurayqat, a prominent Islamic militant leader. Zurayqat said the rockets were capable of flying 40 kilometers, or 25 miles, putting the Israeli city of Haifa in its range. The group, designated a terrorist organization by the US, has claimed responsibility for past rocket attacks on Israel, according to the Times.
IDF sources claim that they are not viewing this as a wider campaign but rather a one-time jihadist attack. The specific location of the rocket falls was not publicized, by order of the military censor, in order to avoid assisting cells firing rockets at Israel in hitting targets in future attacks.
A resident of Kibbutz Evron, near Nahariya, told Ynet that the alarm sounded after “two booms” were heard, and that the residents quickly moved into bomb shelters. “I heard booms,” Yan, a resident of Nahariya, told Channel 2. “Everyone is in the bomb shelters.” He said that residents hadn’t heard alarms for seven years — since the 2006 Second Lebanon War. I was on the phone to my grandma” when the alarms rang out. “I put down the phone and went down to the shelter,” Yan said.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said the army was “employing diverse means, both defensive and preemptive measures,” in order to ensure Israelis’ security. “Anyone who harms us, who tries to harm us, should know that we will harm them,” Netanyahu said in a videotaped statement.
On Friday morning, the Jerusalem Post reported that the Israeli Air Force had carried out a number of air strikes on targets in Beirut overnight in response to the rocket attack.
“Yesterday’s attack is a blatant breach on Israeli sovereignty that jeopardized Israeli civilian life. Israel will not tolerate terrorist aggression originating from Lebanese territory,” the IDF said in a statement.
The IDF Spokesman Brig-Gen. Yoav Mordechai said that the Israel Air Force struck targets a few kilometers from Beirut, and that “echoes of the blasts could be heard in Beirut.”
“The strike forms a clear message by the IDF and Israel to decision makers in Lebanon whom we see as responsible for yesterday’s rocket attack,” Mordechai said.
The Israeli air strike has hit the target accurately and all of the pilots involved in the mission returned to Israel safely, an IDF statement said.
Lebanese President Michel Suleiman has denied involvement with Thursday’s rocket attack, saying, “the firing of rockets towards Israel is a violation of the UN-regulated ceasefire between Israel and Lebanon,” Army Radio reported on Thursday.