IDF official said that it sees “the Lebanese army as responsible for activities in Lebanon & will continue to act against any attempt to harm Israeli sovereignty & the security of its citizens.”
By JPOST.COM STAFF
The IDF attacked targets in southern Lebanon with artillery fire on Sunday evening in response to earlier rocket fire from the country on Israeli communities in the western Galilee.
The IDF stated earlier that three rockets were believed to have fallen in open territory in the North. No injuries or damage were reported in the attack.
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The army said that it sees “the Lebanese army as responsible for activities in Lebanon and will continue to act against any attempt to harm Israeli sovereignty and the security of its citizens.”
The IDF added that, at this point, there was no change in safety instructions for residents of the North.
The exchange of hostilities on the usually quiet northern border came after Sunday morning’s reports of the assassination of Lebanese terror leader Samir Kuntar, responsible for murdering the Haran family in 1979 as part of a PLO operation and later joining Hezbollah following his release from Israeli prison.
Israel welcomed Quntar’s death, saying he had been preparing attacks on it from Syrian soil, but stopped short of confirming responsibility for the strike that killed him.
A former national security adviser to Israel said he doubted the strike would escalate hostilities between Israel and Iranian-backed Hezbollah, whose last major confrontation was in 2006.
Israel has formally kept out of Syria’s civil war which started almost five years ago but has bombed Hezbollah targets there without publicly acknowledging these sorties.
Hezbollah, a powerful Shi’ite Muslim group that has sent hundreds of fighters to Syria to support President Bashar Assad against rebels trying to topple him, said Quntar was “martyred” in an Israeli raid on the residential district of Jaramana in the Syrian capital, but gave no details.
Hezbollah leader Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah was due to speak on Monday evening as both supporters of the group and Syrian loyalist groups said the death of Quntar would be avenged and not be in vain.
Jailed in Israel for his part in a 1979 raid in Israel that killed four people, Quntar, a Druse, was repatriated to Lebanon in 2008 in a prisoner swap with Hezbollah, which he is then believed to have joined.
Hezbollah’s official media said Quntar would be buried on Monday in a Shi’ite cemetery in its main stronghold of Dahiya in the southern suburbs of Beirut. The party opened a condolences hall to receive the public.
“Such acts of the Zionist regime (Israel), which have become a consistent method, are the most dangerous forms of state terrorism,” Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Hossein Jaber Ansari was quoted as saying by Iran’s ILNA news agency.
Syrian Information Minister Omran al Zubi pointed the finger at Israel but fell short of blaming it directly.
“The party that gains most from the assassination of Quntar is the Zionist enemy whom we have long known for these cowardly attacks,” Zubi told Hezbollah’s Manar television station.
Official Syrian media said an Israeli aerial strike hit a six-story residential building in Jaramana.
Reuters contributed to this report.
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