Hezbollah says it fired rockets after Israeli airstrikes

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The Hezbollah militant group said it fired a barrage of rockets near Israeli positions near the Lebanese border on Friday, calling it retaliation for Israeli airstrikes on southern Lebanon the day before.

Israel said it was retaliating after at least 10 rockets were launched from Lebanon, and Prime Minister Naftali Bennett quickly called a meeting with the country’s top defense officials.

Rising tensions were the latest friction and a significant escalation between Israel’s new government and Iran-backed Hezbollah.

The UN peacekeeping force deployed along the border said it detected rocket fire coming from Lebanon and responded with artillery fire from Israel.

In this October 8, 2014 file photo, Lebanese army soldiers and UN peacekeepers investigate near the site where Hezbollah attacked during an Israeli patrol in the hills of the village of Kfar Shouba, near the Israeli-occupied Shebaa farms in southern Lebanon.  The Hezbollah militant group said it fired a barrage of rockets near Israeli positions near the Lebanese border on Friday August 6, 2021, calling it retaliation for Israeli airstrikes on southern Lebanon a day earlier.  (AP Photo / Mohammed Zaatari, File)
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In this October 8, 2014 file photo, Lebanese army soldiers and UN peacekeepers investigate near the site where Hezbollah attacked during an Israeli patrol in the hills of the village of Kfar Shouba, near the Israeli-occupied Shebaa farms in southern Lebanon. The Hezbollah militant group said it fired a barrage of rockets near Israeli positions near the Lebanese border on Friday August 6, 2021, calling it retaliation for Israeli airstrikes on southern Lebanon a day earlier. (AP Photo / Mohammed Zaatari, File)
(AP PRESS ROOM)

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“This is a very serious situation and we urge all parties to cease fire,” said the force known as UNIFIL.

Sirens sounded over the Golan Heights and the Upper Galilee, near the Lebanese border on Friday morning. Hezbollah said in a statement that it struck “open fields” near Israeli positions in the disputed area of ​​Shebaa Farms, with “dozens” of rockets. No casualties were reported.

Shebaa Farms is an enclave where the borders of Israel, Lebanon and Syria meet. Israel says it is part of the Golan Heights, which it captured from Syria in 1967. Lebanon and Syria say the Shebaa farms belong to Lebanon, while the United Nations says the region is part of Syria and that Damascus and Israel should negotiate its fate.

Israel said most of the rockets coming from Lebanon were intercepted by the defense system known as the Iron Dome. The rest landed in open areas.

Hezbollah’s Manar TV says Israeli warplanes are flying low over south-eastern Lebanon.

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This followed rare Israeli airstrikes on Lebanon a day earlier, a marked escalation at a politically sensitive time. Israel’s new eight-party government coalition is trying to keep the peace under a fragile ceasefire that ended an 11-day war with militant Hamas leaders in Gaza in May.

Israel has long viewed Hezbollah as its most serious and immediate military threat. He estimates that the group has more than 130,000 rockets and missiles capable of hitting anywhere in Israel. In recent years, he has also expressed concerns that the group is trying to import or develop an arsenal of precision-guided missiles.

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