Home » Israel Launches Strikes in Lebanon and Gaza After Barrage of Rockets Fired Across Border
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Israel Launches Strikes in Lebanon and Gaza After Barrage of Rockets Fired Across Border

Tensions continued to simmer after Israel struck Palestinian militant targets in southern Lebanon and Gaza on Friday, raising the specter of a wider regional escalation in the wake of police raids on the al-Aqsa mosque in Jerusalem.

The strikes came hours after dozens of rockets were fired from Lebanon into Israeli territory, an attack the Israeli military blamed on Palestinian militants. The barrage from Lebanon was the largest since a 2006 war between the two countries.

Violence continued to spiral on Friday afternoon when two Israeli sisters – aged 16 and 20 – were killed and their mother was seriously wounded in a shooting attack in the occupied West Bank.

The Israeli military says it was on high alert, calling up an unspecified number of reservists amid what it described as “very volatile times.”

Lt. Col. Richard Hecht, international spokesperson for the Israel Defense Forces (IDF), said that it was dealing with a “convergence of frontiers” in the region. “An event started off in Jerusalem got expanded to Gaza, Hamas and into Lebanon,” he told CNN.

In Lebanon, Israeli airstrikes hit an open area near the southern coastal city of Tyre. The Israeli military believes Palestinian factions launched dozens of rockets from that city. Israel has blamed Hamas, the militant group which controls Gaza, for the rocket launches.

“The IDF will not allow the Hamas terrorist organization to operate from within Lebanon and holds the state of Lebanon responsible for every directed fire emanating from its territory,” the IDF said in a statement.

The Lebanese armed group Hezbollah, which holds sway over south Lebanon, has neither denied nor claimed responsibility for the attacks. But the powerful Iran-backed armed group warned that “hundreds of millions of Muslims” were prepared to “shed blood” in response to the Israeli police raids on al-Aqsa. In recent months, Hezbollah chief Hassan Nasrallah said that violations at the mosque compound in Jerusalem’s old city would cause “all hell to break loose in the region.”

Lebanon said it would submit an official complaint to the UN Security Council, calling Israel’s strikes a “flagrant violation of Lebanon’s sovereignty.” Hamas also condemned the strikes in a statement Friday, and expressed “solidarity with the Lebanese people.” In a separate statement, it condemned Israel’s strikes on the Gaza Strip.

Source : CNN