The Israel Defense Forces aimed artillery fire across the border into Lebanon early Tuesday morning in response to a rocket attack fired at Israel from Lebanon at around 4 am.
Two rockets were fired at northern Israel from across the border; one was intercepted by the Iron Dome aerial defense system – which meant it was aimed at a civilian population center — and the second landed in an open area in Israeli territory.
The Lebanese rocket fire followed an air strike on Iranian-linked military positions east of Aleppo in Syria, attributed to Israel by the official state SANA news agency.
IDF forces directed artillery fire towards the source of the Lebanese rocket launches, said the IDF spokesperson.
The IDF fired 12 artillery shells at the Wadi Hammoul area, according to a report by Aljazeera quoting Lebanese Army sources. No one was injured and no damage was reported.
The attack came several hours ahead of a visit by Prime Minister Naftali Bennett and Communications Minister Yoaz Hendel scheduled for the northern Israeli town of Ma’alot-Tarshiha, where the two were to dedicate a fiber-optic connection. The visit took place as scheduled.
“Lebanon is in the process of collapsing – a collapse Hezbollah has helped cause,” observed IDF Chief of Staff Aviv Kochavi a few hours later during his visit to the IDF Northern Command headquarters.
“We do not intend to allow, as a result of this collapse, the rocket fire that took place this morning,” Kochavi said.
“We will respond both overtly and covertly to any violation of Israeli sovereignty from Lebanon, whoever it may be,” he added.
Multiple Crises in Lebanon
Lebanon’s designated prime minister, Sa’ad Hariri, stepped down earlier this week; a move that could push the country further into political and economic instability, and social unrest.
Hariri, who has a degree in business administration from Georgetown University, has been in and out of the prime minister’s office several times, having served as Lebanon’s leader from 2009 to 2011, and again from 2016 to January 2020. He was once again designated the nation’s prime minister in October 2020 and again resigned on July 15, 2021, citing nine months of efforts – and ultimately failure — to form a new government.
Iran and its Lebanese proxy Hezbollah have repeatedly sabotaged the formation of a government in the country. During Hariri’s announcement of his resignation in November 2017, he specifically cited the political over-extension of Iran and Hezbollah in the Middle East as the reason for his decision, adding there were also fears he was targeted for assassination.
Hariri’s father, Rafik Hariri, served as prime minister from 1992 to 1998 and again from 2000 until he resigned in October 2004. The senior Hariri was assassinated on February 14 2005 by a suicide truck bomb in Beirut attributed to members of Hezbollah.
Lebanon, Israel Secretly Negotiating?
The German government said Tuesday in response to a parliamentary question this week that secret talks mediated by the United States are underway between Israel and Lebanon.
The talks are allegedly being held to negotiate “demarcation of their shared borders, especially the maritime border,” according to the Israel Defense website.
A spokesperson for the German federal government denied, however, a report that the International Monetary Fund (IMF) cannot approve a loan to help remedy the Lebanese economic crisis due to a lack of agreement on Lebanon’s border with Israel.