Rockets strike Afula, Jezreel Valley for first time; Hezbollah: We can hit anywhere
IAF chief: Hezbollah still has large cache of rockets ; 8 killed, 30 hurt as Hezbollah rockets slam into Haifa.'
Rocket barrages from Lebanon into northern Israel did not let up on Monday morning, landing across the Eastern and Western Galilee. Six people were lightly injured.
The rockets landed in Kiryat Shmona, Acre, Tiberias, Talal, Julis, Abu Snan, Kafr Yassif and other towns across the north.
Near Acre, a rocket hit a house directly, landing just a few meters away from a couple sleeping in a bedroom. Three family members in the house at the time suffered light injuries.
Earlier Monday morning, thirteen Israel Defense Forces soldiers were hospitalized in Western Galilee Hospital in Nahariya with smoke inhalation from a rocket landing.
A Katyusha barrage landed late Sunday in the lower Galilee's Jezreel Valley for the first time. (Click here for map)
Rockets landed in the city of Afula and the surrounding communities of Upper Nazareth, Migdal Ha'emek and Givat Ela at 11 P.M. At 50 kilometers inland from the northern border, this was the longest range rocket to hit Israel. There were no reports of injuries.
For Home Front Command safety recommendations click here.
Hezbollah secretary general Hassan Nasrallah may decide to use the longer range missiles in his movement's arsenal against Israel, according to Israel Defense Forces assessments.
IDF sources say that use of such weapons will depend on authorization from Iran, which has equipped Hezbollah with long-range missiles and has played a formative role in shaping the character of the current fighting. If the confrontation continues to escalate, as it appeared to have done Sunday, the chances that Nasrallah's organization will launch such missiles increases.
The army is concerned that Iranian-made Zelzal missiles, whose range is estimated to exceed 200 kilometers, may be used, thus allowing Hezbollah to target the Tel Aviv metropolitan area. Intelligence information suggests that the organization has a limited number of these missiles.
The IDF on Sunday told Israelis from Tel Aviv northward to "be alert."
The command said that in the event of a rocket strike, a siren will sound, alerting the public to seek shelter inside in a protected room or an area away from doors, windows and exterior walls.
Those caught outside at the time of the siren should enter a stairwell or get close to wall or shelter and lie down. The Home Front Command also told the public to await further instruction.
Hezbollah still has at its disposal a significant arsenal "of very many rockets of all kinds," Israel Air Force Commander Major General Elyezer Shkedy told reporters at a news briefing on Sunday.
Shkedy said that thus far the IDF has struck part of Hezbollah's array of rockets and that the goal of the military campaign against Lebanon is to "deal seriously with the infrastructure that has been built over the course of years."
The IDF's chief intelligence officer, Brigadier General Yuval Helmish, said that since the end of Operation Grapes of Wrath - the IDF's offensive in south Lebanon in April 1996 - Hezbollah has amassed over 10,000 rockets, some of which have a range of over 70 kilometers, and has dispersed the missiles in towns and villages throughout south Lebanon.
Nasrallah on Sunday said the IDF offensive on Lebanon had not depleted its large stockpile of rockets, and warned that the Islamic group could strike almost anywhere in Israel.
"We will continue. We still have a lot more and we are just at the beginning," Nasrallah said in a taped televised address on Al-Manar. "We promise them surprises in (any) confrontation."
Eight people were killed Sunday morning as rockets fired by Hezbollah guerillas in Lebanon struck the northern port city of Haifa.
Nasrallah threatened "direct confrontation" if IDF ground forces entered Lebanon, adding that his guerrillas have "complete strength and power" despite Israel's five-day bombardment.
"As long as the enemy pursues its aggression without limits and red lines we will pursue the confrontation without limits and without red lines," Nasrallah said. "The enemy doesn't know our capabilities or what we have."
The Hezbollah leader said the IDF's offensive in south Lebanon "relied on false information," adding that "all the targets hit in south Lebanon were civilian. There were no bases or Katyushas there."
He urged Arabs and Muslims worldwide to support his guerrillas, saying his group was fighting Israel on behalf of them.
"Today, especially in this sensitive moment and after several military achievements and surprises, Hezbollah is not fighting a battle for Hezbollah or even for Lebanon. We are now fighting a battle for the(Islamic) nation," he said. "The peoples of the Arab and Islamic world have a historic opportunity to score a defeat against the Zionist enemy ... We are providing the example," he added.
Other communities in the north also came under attack from the rockets Sunday. Residents across the north were instructed to take cover in bomb shelters and secure areas.
All of those killed were in an Israel Railways depot located near an Israel Electric Corporation installation on Haifa Bay, according to the head of Magen David Adom rescue service.
The fatalities in the attack have been identified as Rafi Hazan, 30, of Haifa; Shlomi Mansura, 35, of Nahariya; Nissim Elharar, 47, of Kiryat Ata; David Feldman, 28, of Kiryat Yam; Shmuel Ben Shimon, 41; Dennis Lapidos, 24, of Kiryat Yam; Rafael Damati, 39, of Kiryat Yam; and Reuven Levi, 46, of Kiryat Ata.
Some 30 Israel Railways employees were in the depot at the time. At least 17 people were wounded in the strike, six seriously and four moderately. The wounded in the depot were taken to Rambam Medical Center in Haifa.
Police reported a total of 53 injuries in Haifa and its immediate surroundings.
Following the rocket strike, authorities closed the Haifa port and diverted ships to the Ashdod port.
Israeli security officials said Sunday that Hezbollah hit Haifa with Syrian-produced Fagr missiles, which have a range of 40 kilometers.
Two salvos of rockets hit Ahuza, a central residential and business district of Haifa, and the border town of Nahariya. A rocket also struck Kiryat Haim, on the outskirts of Haifa, Channel 2 television reported.
Channel 10 television reported that rockets also hit the Checkpost business district on the Haifa-Nahyaria highway.
A subsequent attack hit a major street in Haifa, causing further injuries, police said.
Hezbollah warned that if the Israel Air Force continues its strikes on Beirut strikes, it would target petrochemical plants in Haifa.
The group said it intentionally avoided hitting petrochemical installations in Haifa, which houses Israel's major oil refinery, according to a statement read on Al-Manar.
"But the next time, it [Hezbollah] will not spare anything in Haifa and its surroundings," the statement said.
The Israel Defense Forces said over the weekend that more than 700 rockets have been fired at Israel since the start of the military operation in Lebanon, prompted by the Hezbollah abduction of two IDF soldiers last Wednesday.
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