Text size
related tags

Lebanese residents have reported receiving threatening phone calls from Israel following the firing of two Katyusha rockets from southern Lebanon into the western Galilee on Friday, a Lebanese Web site reported.

The residents said they were told by phone that Israel holds the Lebanese government responsible for the Katyusha fire and that it will respond strongly anywhere on Lebanese soil.

The report, which appeared on the "Lebanon Now" Web site on Saturday, added that the phone calls were made to households as far away from the border as Beirut and other districts.

United Nations forces in southern Lebanon and the Lebanese army are stepping up patrols of the border, the report added.

Israel filed a complaint with the UN on Friday following the firing of the Katyusha rockets.

Israel's ambassador to the UN, Gabriela Shalev, sent a letter to Secretary General Ban-Ki moon and to U.S. ambassador to the UN, Susan Rice, saying that Israel is holding the Lebanese government responsible for the rocket attack.

At least two Katyusha rockets struck open fields near Nahariya on Friday.

No casualties were reported by Israeli police, who said two rockets landed. Israel Police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld said police located one of the rockets, near the northern town of Nahariya.

The Israel Defense Forces fired retaliatory artillery at southern Lebanon in repornse to the rocket fire.

Lebanese security sources, who reported at least two outgoing missiles and 15 incoming Israeli shells, did not say who might have fired the rockets.

Shalev also wrote to the UN that Lebanon's government is not doing enough to prevent the presence of armed groups and weapons south of the Litani River, as outlined in UN Resolution 1701.

Ban on Friday condemned the rocket fire into Israel, saying the UN peacekeeping mission in southern Lebanon will investigate the incident.

Ban called on all parties to exercise restraint.

"The parties must fully adhere to Security Council resolution 1701 and respect the cessation of hostilities agreement," Ban said in a statement.

Resolution 1701 ended the 2006 Second Lebanon War between Hezbollah and Israel and called for disarming the militias in southern Lebanon.

An IDF spokesman confirmed that Israel fired about a dozen artillery rounds in response to several rockets.

The spokesman said Friday that Israel "views these incidents as very severe, and we hold the government of Lebanon responsible."

P.J. Crowley, a spokesman for the U.S. State Department, said the rocket fire was in "clear violation" of the cease-fire and showed "the urgent need to bring arms in Lebanon under control of the state."

It was the first time since February that rockets had been fired from Lebanon into Israel, raising tensions along a border that remains volatile three years after a war between Israel and Hezbollah guerrillas in Lebanon.

Channel 10 reported that a Palestinian faction in Lebanon has claimed responsibility for the rocket fire, while military sources said that a global jihad terror group was likely responsible, according to Army Radio.

A resident of a northern kibbutz told Haaretz, "It was very surprising. We suddenly heard a boom. We are very happy no one was hurt."

The resident said that no one on the kibbutz heard any sort of warning siren before the rockets struck. Channel 10 reported that an electric tower was struck by one of the rockets.

A Lebanese military official said the rockets from Lebanon were fired from the town of Qlaileh, near the port city of Tyre.

Lebanese security officials said Israeli troops promptly fired at least two rockets back, which landed near Qlaileh. Lebanon's state-run National News Agency reported that nine Israeli artillery shells fell near the town, but there were no reports of casualties or damage.

Hezbollah has a large rocket arsenal but is not believed to have used them against Israel since the 2006 fighting. It has denied involvement in previous rocket attacks on Israel.

The group's Al-Manar TV reported that two rockets were fired into Israel and the Israeli troops fired back. It gave no further details.

It was the fourth rocket attack from Lebanon into Israel this year. The previous attack took place in February. Rockets from Lebanon were also fired into Israel on two other occasions in January, during Israel's three-week-long offensive against Hamas in the Gaza Strip, which began in December 2008.