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Rockets fired at Israel from Lebanon, drawing Israeli fire

Source: Reuters - Mon, 14 Jul 2014 05:04 GMT
Author: Reuters
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(Adds Israeli military spokesman)

BEIRUT/JERUSALEM, July 14 (Reuters) - Rockets were fired at Israel from southern Lebanon on Monday, drawing retaliatory artillery fire from Israeli forces, Lebanese security officials and the Israeli army said, in the third such rocket attack from Lebanon since Friday.

An Israeli police spokeswoman said there was no immediate word of damage or casualties from the rocket fire.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility.

The attacks from Lebanon have coincided with an Israeli offensive on the Hamas-run Gaza Strip which Palestinian officials say has killed at least 160 people.

Palestinian groups have fired hundreds of rockets into Israel from Gaza during the latest hostilities.

Israeli military spokesman Brigadier-General Motti Almoz linked the Lebanon rockets to the Gaza fighting.

"Some on the other side are trying to heat up the border. We were not surprised by it, we prepared for it, we knew the Gaza fighting could affect other areas too," he told Army Radio.

No injuries have been reported as a result of the three incidents across the Lebanese-Israeli frontier since Friday.

The Lebanese national news agency said two rockets had been fired just after midnight in the latest salvo from Lebanon.

The Israeli military said several rockets had been fired from Lebanon at western Galilee, one hitting an open area.

"No injuries reported thus far. The IDF (Israel Defense Forces) immediately responded with artillery fire toward the source of the fire," the military said in a statement.

A witness in Lebanon heard at least five explosions on the Lebanese side of the border, apparently caused by Israeli shelling.

The Lebanese security forces on Friday arrested a man suspected of launching the rockets fired in the first of the three attacks. He was Lebanese and a member of "fundamentalist groups", the report said, without naming the groups.

Last August, the Brigades of Abdullah Azzam, an organisation linked to al Qaeda, claimed a rocket barrage from Lebanon.

Hamas earlier denied a claim that it was behind a rocket attack from Lebanon on Saturday. Hamas officials in Lebanon said the group had nothing to do with a statement issued in the name of its armed wing claiming responsibility for that attack.

Southern Lebanon is a stronghold of the powerful Lebanese Shi'ite movement Hezbollah, which fought a war with Israel in 2006.

While the Iranian-backed group routinely states its readiness for another confrontation with Israel, analysts believe it is keen to avoid one for now as its fighters aid President Bashar al-Assad's forces in the Syrian civil war. (Additional reporting by Dan Williams in Jerusalem; Writing by Tom Perry in Beirut; Editing by Sandra Maler and Ron Popeski)

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