Two missiles was fired at northern Israel from southern Lebanon Thursday morning. The projectiles, which landed in Israeli territory near the border fence, were launched by a Palestinian Authority faction in Lebanon in response to this week’s IDF operation in the terrorist hotbed of Jenin. It has since been determined that the projectile was an anti-tank missile.
An initial statement from the Israel Defense Forces said there was “no incident on Israeli territory. This was an explosion that took place on the other side of the border fence near Ghajar. Details are under investigation.”
The IDF swiftly clarified its stance with a subsequent statement saying the explosion was indeed caused by a launch from Lebanese territory, aimed at Israel.
In response, the IDF said its forces opened artillery fire at the source of the launch.
The Hezbollah-linked Al Manar news outlet claimed IDF artillery forces fired at least 15 mortar shells at the site. There is an unconfirmed report of a second rocket that was launched after the retaliation.
— בז news (@1717Bazz) July 6, 2023
The initial explosion was heard near Ghajar, Al Manar reported.
Ghajar is a border town in which the Israel-Lebanon border runs directly through the middle, cutting it in half.
The Fence Around Ghajar
Hezbollah complained Thursday in Lebanese media that Israel recently built a fence in the northern portion of Ghajar to complete a barrier encircling the entire town. The United Nations recognizes northern Ghajar as part of Lebanese territory.
“These measures include erecting a barbed wire fence and building a cement wall around the entire town, similar to that along the border between Lebanon and Israel,” Hezbollah charged.
“These dangerous measures and the new development are a complete occupation of the Lebanese part of the town of Ghajar by force of arms and establishing a fait accompli. This is not just a routine violation as those committed regularly by [Israeli] forces.
“In light of this dangerous development, we call on the State of Lebanon with all its institutions, especially the Lebanese government, and we also call on the Lebanese people, with all their political and civil forces, to act to prevent the establishment of this occupation, to cancel the aggressive steps taken by [Israel] and to act to liberate this part of our country and return it to the homeland.”
It is interesting to note the complaint follows one from the Israel Defense Forces about a violation of Israeli sovereignty by Hezbollah, an Iranian proxy, which infiltrated the border several months ago and established a small military outpost on Israeli territory in the area of Mount Dov, also known as Shebaa Farms.
The area, part of the Golan Heights, was captured by Israel from Syria during the 1967 Six Day War, and annexed by Israel in 1981 along with the Golan Heights. Lebanon still claims the area as its own.
After requests to remove the outpost were ignored, Israel warned Hezbollah that if necessary, IDF personnel would remove the tents. Israel also submitted a formal complaint last month to the United Nations, asking its peacekeeper force (UN Interim Force in Lebanon / UNIFIL) to intervene.
This past Sunday Israeli media reported that Hezbollah had removed one of the tents — but the second, a large barracks-style tent, remains.
On Monday, UNIFIL head Major General Aroldo Lazaro said in a statement sent to the Associated Press that he “continues to be in direct contact with authorities on both sides of the Blue Line to resolve the situation of the tents.” The Blue Line is the unofficial, internationally-recognized border between Israel and Lebanon.
Arab media reports that Israel sent a message via UNIFIL that Israel has no intent to escalate the situation further in response to the attack.
— ا لـحـدث (@AlHadath) July 6, 2023