A salvo of rockets has been fired from southern Lebanon towards Israel, as tensions mount in the border region where Israeli forces and armed factions in Lebanon have exchanged fire over the last three days.
A number of rockets were fired towards Israel on Tuesday, with Reuters news agency citing a security source saying Palestinian factions had carried out the attack.
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Israeli forces responded to the missiles with artillery fire, said the source, noting that some 15 rockets were launched from Lebanon, of which four were intercepted and 10 fell in open spaces.
“In response to the launches identified from Lebanese territory toward Israeli territory, IDF soldiers are currently responding with artillery fire,” a statement from the Israeli military said.
The United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) said it detected a rocket launch south of Tyre at around 5:30pm local time (14:30 GMT), urging restraint on all sides.
Its spokesperson said UNIFIL units were sent into underground shelters in the area from where the rockets were launched.
The UN’s special coordinator for Lebanon, Joanna Wronecka, said she met on Tuesday with Lebanon’s caretaker Foreign Minister Abdallah Bouhabib, the head of its army Joseph Aoun and the acting head of General Security Elias Baissari.
“During this difficult time of uncertainty for the country, more than ever, the people of Lebanon need security and stability,” she wrote on the platform X, formerly known as Twitter.
Questions of a possible escalation in fighting between Israeli forces and the Iran-backed armed group Hezbollah, based in Lebanon, have loomed over the unfolding war between Israel and Hamas in Gaza over the last several days.
So far, the two sides have walked a careful line, with limited fire that has allowed each side to avoid a potentially devastating confrontation.
“What’s happening here seems to be a kind of contained tension. Lebanon is not yet a war zone. However, it’s an area of operation. But it seems it’s also a space for both sides to exchange messages,” Al Jazeera’s Ali Hashem reported from southern Lebanon.
He said the rockets were intercepted by Israel’s anti-missile system.
Hezbollah has expressed support for the Palestinians, saying its “guns and rockets” are with them.
On Sunday, it fired missiles on Israeli positions in the disputed Shebaa Farms area along the border. Three Hezbollah members were killed in an Israeli bombardment on Monday.
But the mainly Shia group has so far not opened a major second front against Israel in the ongoing war.
In 2006 Hezbollah and Israel fought a 34-day war that left more than 1,200 dead in Lebanon, mostly civilians, and 160 in Israel, mostly soldiers.
Source: Al Jazeera and news agencies