Details of the Israeli bombing of South Lebanon and Gaza
On Friday before dawn, Israel launched raids into southern Lebanon and Gaza, confirming that Hamas targets had been hit in retaliation for dozens of rockets fired into its territory from Gaza and southern Lebanon in the context of an ongoing escalation since Wednesday.
The raids began before midnight in Gaza and continued for several hours, with the bombardment of southern Lebanon around 1:00 GMT. The Israeli army confirmed in a statement that it had bombed three “objects” belonging to the Hamas movement in the Rashidiya area, where a Palestinian refugee camp is located near Tire in southern Lebanon. This is the first time that Israel has confirmed strikes against Lebanese territory since April 2022.
The region has experienced a sudden escalation of violence since Wednesday after a relative lull in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict since the start of the month of Ramadan on March 23.
At least three blasts took place early Friday in the Tire area, coinciding with Israel’s announcement of bombardment of Lebanon in retaliation for rocket fire on its territory on Thursday, accusing Palestinian groups of being behind them.
According to an AFP photographer, the rocket landed on the roof of a farmer’s house near the Rashidieh camp, south of Tire, close to the area from which the rockets were fired towards Israel.
Abu Ahmed, a resident of the camp, told AFP: “We heard explosions. At least two shells exploded near the camp.”
The blast comes after Israel announced that more than 30 rockets were fired from southern Lebanon towards its northern lands on Thursday afternoon, causing injury and property damage, blaming Palestinian groups behind it. not Hezbollah, the most prominent political and military organization. forces in Lebanon, in the escalation between Israel and Lebanon. Unprecedented since 2006.
And the Lebanese army announced on Friday morning in a statement that it had found “in the Marjayoun plain (south) a rocket launcher with several rockets that had not been fired and work was underway to dismantle them.”
The explosion occurred during the Jewish holiday of Passover and a day after violent clashes at the Al-Aqsa mosque in occupied East Jerusalem between Palestinian worshipers and Israeli security forces, and Palestinian factions vowed to launch revenge attacks after them.
– “Paying a high price” –
The Israeli army has confirmed that the rockets fired from southern Lebanon, for which neither side has claimed responsibility, were “Palestinian fire that may have been launched by Hamas and may have been Islamic Jihad”, except that Hezbollah will stand behind them.
“Our response will make (enemies) pay a heavy price,” Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said after a security cabinet meeting.
Two Hamas and Islamic Jihad sources confirmed to AFP that the two movements “informed Egypt and the mediators (Qatar and the UN) that the Palestinian factions would continue to respond to aggression with rocket launches if the occupation continued with aggression and air raids or attacks on believers and seclusion in the Al-Aqsa Mosque.”
The two sources continued: “The Joint Gang Hall agreed that if the aggression stops, the resistance groups will stop rocket attacks, and that the resistance is carried out within the obligations of the occupation.”
The United Nations Interim Force in South Lebanon (UNIFIL) confirmed in a statement at dawn on Friday that both sides “do not want war”, urging them to calm down.
International forces deployed in the south of the country to divide Israel and Lebanon after several conflicts called on “all parties to stop their actions”, explaining in a statement that “both sides have said they do not want war.”
For its part, the Israeli army confirmed that it “will not allow the terrorist organization Hamas to carry out operations from Lebanese territory” and that it “holds the Lebanese state responsible for every shelling operation (at Israel) from its territory.”
And Hamas said in a statement, “We condemn in the strongest terms the flagrant Zionist aggression against Lebanon,” adding, “We hold the Zionist entity and its fascist leadership fully responsible for the consequences of this dangerous escalation.”
The Ministry of Health in the Gaza Strip announced “partial damage” to the Al-Durra Children’s Hospital, east of Gaza City, as a result of Israeli raids, condemning the “unacceptable” bombing. The Israeli army did not comment in response to questions from Agence France-Presse about this.
– Won’t stand still –
Lebanon and Israel are officially at war. Lebanon witnessed a bloody war in the summer of 2006 that began with the kidnapping of two Israeli soldiers by members of Hezbollah. During the war in Lebanon, 1,200 people were killed, most of them civilians, and 160 Israelis, mostly soldiers.
The Lebanese Foreign Ministry said Lebanon wants to maintain “calm and stability” in the south, calling on the international community to “put pressure on Israel to stop the escalation.”
On Thursday, Hezbollah reaffirmed its support for “all steps” that Palestinian factions will take against Israel in response to the Al-Aqsa violence.
Bombing of northern Israel from southern Lebanon coincided with a visit to Lebanon by the head of the Hamas politburo, Ismail Haniya.
Haniya stressed that the Palestinian factions will not be “inactive” in the face of Israeli “aggression” on al-Aqsa.
Hashem Safieddin, head of Hezbollah’s Executive Council, warned in statements released by the party: “If the Zionists believe that they can desecrate the Al-Aqsa Mosque, they should know that seeking to achieve their goals by attacking the holy places (…) will lead to setting fire to the whole region.”
In the Gaza Strip, the Israeli army carried out several raids overnight, targeting tunnels, a heavy machine gun and two Hamas weapons manufacturing facilities, according to military records.
In response, batches of rockets were fired from the Gaza Strip, which were reportedly intercepted by the Israeli air defense system.