By Jennifer Smith / DailyMail.co.uk
December 29, 2013
The Israeli military has today shelled the Lebanese border in retaliation for being struck by two rockets, it has emerged.
Five rockets were launched on Sunday morning according to Israeli authorities, though only two are thought to have landed near the northern town of Kiryat Shmona.
Artillery was fired toward the source of the launch shortly afterwards according to a military statement.
More than 30 shells hit a mountainous region around the southern Lebanese border near Rachaya, say witnesses.
Officials confirmed no one had been injured as a result of the violence that has sparked concern after the two countries remained peaceful following a 2006 ceasefire.
It was not immediately clear who initiated the rocket attack, though a U.N. peacekeeping force in south Lebanon said it was working with the Lebanese Army to obtain further details.
In a statement, Defence Minister Moshe Yaalon said Israel held the Lebanese government and military responsible for the rocket attack, the first along the frontier since August.
Yaalon said the military responded with ‘massive shelling toward the (rocket) launch area, and if needed will use even greater force’.
There have been no reports of further cross-border conflict following the exchange that took place this morning.
The Israeli border in Lebanon had been relatively quiet since a month-long war between Israel and Hezbollah guerrillas tormented the region in the summer of 2006. Over a thousand Lebanese were killed and some 160 Israelis died in that conflict, which was brought to an end with a UN-brokered ceasefire after 34 days of violence.
There have been sporadic bouts of unrest in the region since, with the most recent being the death of an Israeli soldier who was killed by a Lebanese army sniper. The incident is thought to have been an isolated act.
A car bombing in an upscale district of Beirut on Friday Dec 27th shook the city and prompted an increase of military presence throughout the country.
South Lebanon is a stronghold of the Iranian-backed Hezbollah guerrilla group which is currently engaged in Syria’s civil war in support of President Bashar al-Assad. Palestinian factions are also in the area, with some small bands of militants laying claim to rocket attacks.