Another miracle saved Israel in Thursday’s attack on the north, where two Katyusha rockets exploded in the middle of Kibbutz Gesher HaZiv and Moshav Shavei Tzion, causing only property damage without injuries – except, of course, for trauma.
One other missile was shot down, and a fourth rocket landed in the sea, but other missiles launched at Israel fell in Lebanon, short of their target, according to the Beirut Daily News and the IDF.
“The remaining rockets fell outside of Israeli territory,” the military said in a statement.
It reported that the Lebanese army discovered four wooden launching pads in the outskirts of a village. Sources said four missiles were fired from an area near a village operated by the United Nations and southeast of the coastal city of Tyre.
The Abdullah Azzam Brigades, an Al-Qaeda-inspired group that the United States has designated as a terrorist organization, claimed responsibility for the attack in a post on the Twitter account of Sirajuddin Zurayqat, an influential Islamist.
The official Lebanon National News Agency said Israel flew two unmanned drones at low altitudes over Tyre after the attack that broke a relatively long period of calm in the Nahariya area, hard hit in 2006 by Hezbollah. Residents living near the launching site and the border confirmed to the Star that the IDF did not retaliate.
After the attack, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu warned of retaliation, saying, “Anyone who harms us, or tries to harm us, should know — we will strike them.”
Increased tensions and battles along the Lebanese borders are the last thing that Israel and pro-Lebanese factions want. The shaky Lebanese government has its hands full with the constant pro-Syrian and Hezbollah forces that dominate southern Lebanon, terrorist attacks by Hezbollah and Sunni Muslim against each other, and the spillover form the Syrian civil war.
UNIFIL spokeswoman Antonette Miday said peacekeepers inspected the launching site and that U.N. forces would plea to Lebanon and Israel to maintain calm.
Lebanese officials were incensed at the missile attack, the first on Israel since May. Both President Michel Suleiman and caretaker Prime Minister Najib Mikati condemned the rocket fire as a violation of U.N. Security Council Resolution 1701 and Lebanon’s sovereignty.
The Katyusha missile that slammed into Kibbutz Gesher HaZiv caused large-scale property damage. Photo by Kobi Snir/Flash 90
Katyusha missile that exploded in a street in Kibbutz Gesher HaZiv Thursday afternoon. Photo by Kobi Snir/Flash 90
The missile attack shattered the windows and punctured tires of this van, which was parked without anyone inside at the time of the explosion. Photo by Shay Vakni/Tazpit News Agency
Security officials gather up remains of missile. Shay Vaknin/Tazpit News Agency