Israel Believes Hezbollah Not Seeking Escalation After 19 Rockets Fired at North

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Smoke rises after an IDF strike in south Lebanon, earlier today
Smoke rises after an IDF strike in south Lebanon, earlier today Credit: Jack Khoury

Hezbollah took responsibility for launching 19 rockets from southern Lebanon into Israel. 

In response to the attack, the IDF struck sites with artillery fire in southern Lebanon.  

Defense Minister Benny Gantz met with defense officials, including IDF Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Aviv Kochavi regarding the escalation.

The Lebanese army announced they have arrested four operatives for their involvement in the rocket attack, adding that the IDF fired around 40 munitions at open areas in southern Lebanon. 

Video of the Iron Dome intercepting rockets fired from LebanonCredit: Jack Khoury

According to the IDF Spokesperson, 19 rockets were fired from south Lebanon at the Golan Heights before 11 A.M. Three fell within Lebanon and 16 were fired at Israel, directed at open fields. Ten were intercepted by the Iron Dome. There were no casualties reported.

The IDF says Hezbollah deliberately fired at open areas in the Golan Heights. As Lebanon is amid an internal economic crisis, Hezbollah appears to be justifying its existence by attacking Israel, the IDF says. However, the IDF announced that both sides are not interested in an escalation, but that Hezbollah might be trying to copy the situation at the Gaza border, in which rockets fired at open areas won't be punished as harshly as those fired at populated areas. 

Deputy Secretary-General Naim Qassem said in an interview on Al Mayadeen, which is affiliated with Hezbollah, that Hezbollah's actions today came as a response to Israel's aggression. 

Hezbollah has made it clear that every Israeli aggression will provoke a reaction by the organization, he added.   

The IDF added that Kochavi will assess the situation with the Defense Ministry and examine if it's right to respond to this incident in means other than artillery fire. 

Video allegedly showing Druze residents of south Lebanon stopping rockets entering civilian area Credit: Jack Khoury

The Iron Dome defense system intercepted most of the launches, according to the IDF. Two rockets landed in open areas in the Israeli towns Ein Qiniyye and Neve Ativ, according to reports.

In a viral video being shared on social media, Druze locals in Lebanon's Sheba locale appear to be blocking a delivery of Hezbollah rockets from entering the area, arguing between themselves whether to block the shipment or not.

UNIFIL, the United Nations Interim Force In Lebanon, also confirmed the rocket attack, saying "This is a very serious situation, and we urge all parties to cease fire."

Rocket sirens sounded just before 11 A.M. on Friday morning in communities in northern Israel, namely in the northern Galilee and the Golan Heights. 

Magen David Adom says there are no injuries reported, and the IDF says the details are under examination. Residents of the Golan Heights and the northern Galilee were instructed to remain inside bomb shelters. 

The Druze community head, Sheikh Muwafaq Tarif, wanred that Hezbollah attacks Israel from within Druze villages in Lebanon to trigger an Israeli response which would harm their community. 

Hezbollah and other Iran-backed organizations are trying to drag the Druze community, in Israel and Lebanon, into this confrontation. He stressed that community members "refuse to turn their villages in Lebanon into a war zone."      

On Wednesday, the Israeli Air Force struck Lebanon, the Israeli military said, after a day of tit-for-tat attacks between Israel and militants operating from southern Lebanon.

Defense Minister Benny Gantz said Lebanon bears sole responsibility for the rocket launch. "Lebanon allows terror activity to take place from its territory. The State of Israel will act against every threat to its sovereignty and citizens, and will respond according to its interests in the relevant time and place."

"We won't allow Lebanon's social, economic and political crisis to turn into a security threat against Israel. I call on the international community to act for Lebanon's' stabilization, "Gantz added. 

Earlier Wednesday, three rockets were fired from Lebanon into Israel; two landed in open fields in the northern Israeli town of Kiryat Shmona. 

Iron Dome batteries in northern Israel, earlier this weekCredit: JALAA MAREY - AFP

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