Lebanon deploys more troops to Israeli borders following rocket attacks against Israel

December 21, 2015 12:30 pm 

BEIRUT/JERUSALEM, Dec. 21 — The UN Interim Forces in Lebanon (UNIFIL) head Maj. Gen. Luciano Portolano, said on Sunday that additional troops have been deployed along the border between Lebanon and Israel and patrols are intensified in coordination with the Lebanese army to prevent an escalation.

"This is a serious incident in violation of UN Security Council resolution 1701 and is clearly directed at undermining stability in the area. It is imperative to identify and apprehend the perpetrators of this attack," Portolano said in a statement.

Resolution 1701 ended the 33-day devastating war between Hezbollah and Israel in August, 2006.

The statement added that Israel's army notified the peacekeepers that two of the rockets struck northern Israel, and a third landed in the sea.

The National News Agency (NNA) reported earlier on Sunday that three rockets were fired from the outskirts of the southern port city of Tyre towards Israel on Sunday.

The Israeli army retaliated by shelling the southern towns of Qolaile and al-Mansouri.

According to the NNA "the Israeli war planes are at the moment carrying mock raids over the region."

No group immediately claimed responsibility for the attack, which came after an overnight strike killed Hezbollah commander Samir Kuntar in a Damascus suburb.

Kuntar was a military commander in the Lebanese Hezbollah group. Hezbollah officials accused Israel for the attack which reportedly killed eight other people.

Israel did not officially claim responsibility for the attack, though Israeli ministers commended Kuntar's death.

Kuntar was a Lebanese Druze and a member of the militant Palestine Liberation Front organization, and later became a top Hezbollah official.

He spent nearly 30 years in an Israeli prison for the murder of four Israelis in 1979, including a four-year-old girl and her father.

He was released in 2008, in exchange for bodies of two Israeli soldiers who were killed by Hezbollah in 2006.

Israeli pundits believed that Sunday's rockets were not fired by Hezbollah but rather by Palestinian militant organizations located in southern Lebanon, with Hezbollah's approval, however.

The last time rockets hit the northwest area of Western Galilee was in July 2014, during Israel's military campaign against Hamas in the Gaza Strip, known as Operation Protective Edge.

Several air strikes against Syria in recent years were attributed to Israel, whose official policy is non-intervention in the country's ongoing civil war.

Israeli officials did hint, however, that they would act if Israel's security interests were threatened. (PNA/Xinhua)

JBP/EBP

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