Hezbollah fires rockets at Israel in retaliation for air strikes

JERUSALEM (AA): Lebanon’s Hezbollah on Friday claimed responsibility for firing a barrage of rockets at northern Israel.

“Open lands in the vicinity of Israeli occupation sites in the Shebaa Farms were targeted with dozens of 122 mm rockets,” the group said in a statement.

Hezbollah said the bombing was “in response to Israeli airstrikes on open lands in the al-Jarmaq and al-Shawakir areas on Thursday night.”

Israeli forces retaliated by firing artillery munitions at the Kafr Shuba and Habariya areas in southern Lebanon, according to an Anadolu Agency correspondent.

Avichay Adraee, a spokesman for the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF), said Hezbollah fired 19 rockets from the northern part of Shebaa.

He claimed three of the rockets fell inside Lebanon, 10 were intercepted, and six landed in open areas without causing casualties or damage.

The IDF said on Twitter that it was “currently striking the rocket launch sites in Lebanon.”

Further escalation seems imminent as a statement by Israel’s government said Prime Minister Naftali Bennett will “hold consultations within hours with Defense Minister Benny Gantz, IDF Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Aviv Kohavi, and senior officials in the security establishment.”

The United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) has called for restraint, warning that the situation is “very serious.”

“UNIFIL has detected rocket launches from Lebanon and return artillery fire by Israel. This is a very serious situation and we urge all parties to cease fire,” it said on Twitter.

Flights by Israeli warplanes over the Shebaa area have increased and Israeli artillery fire targeted hills in the Kafr Shuba and Habariya areas, an Anadolu Agency correspondent reported.

There have been no reports of injuries but the bombing has led to fires in the targeted areas.

Earlier on Friday, an Anadolu Agency correspondent in Shebaa reported that unknown persons had fired a missile toward Israel from the border town of Shawaya.

He said the Lebanese army has mobilized forces in the border region and started a hunt for the perpetrators.

A truck with a missile launcher mounted on it was founded abandoned in the area.

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