Hizbullah, Israel Exchange Strikes; Sharon Threatens Syria, Hizbullah Saying '\'They Are Not Immune'\'
Hizbullah launched anti-tank missiles Tuesday afternoon at three Israeli outposts in the Shebaa Farms region, on the Israeli-Lebanese border. No injuries were reported in the attack. This was the third attack carried out by the Lebanese Resistance group in the past three days.
Hizbullah's Al-Manar television station reported that in response to the missiles that were fired, Israeli airplanes fired at the southern Lebanese village of Shebaa.
Reuters added that Israeli artillery units responded to the missile attacks by firing shells at the edges of the nearby Lebanese border town of Kfar Shouba.
Earlier in the morning, a Katyusha rocket fell early Tuesday morning in the northern Galilee, the first time a rocket has been fired from Lebanon since Israel's withdrawal from southern Lebanon in May 2000. The Katyusha landed in open ground, and did not cause any injuries or damage, reported Haaretz.
There have been signs of an escalation on the Israeli-Lebanese border over the past few days. Over the course of three days, anti-tank and rocket fire has been directed at the Israeli outpost in occupied Shabaa Farms, and other targets have also come under fire.
Israeli security sources believed that Lebanese Resistance Hizbullah is behind all of the recent attacks, although the organization has only claimed responsibility for the attacks on the outpost.
According to Israeli reports, troops along the Lebanese border were on high alert, based on the assumption that Hizbullah will try to launch another attacks, in response to the expansion of Israeli raids in the West Bank.
Israel's Prime Minister, Ariel Sharon, said that Israel "views gravely" the firing of the Katyusha rocket, saying Hizbullah and Syria were "not immune," and that the Israeli army "has excellent plans," Israel Radio reported.
"I am certain that we will provide the appropriate response ... there cannot be a [hostile] force set up along the northern border interfering with what is happening here," Sharon said.
Hizbullah attacks followed a speech on March 8 by Hassan Nasrallah, its secretary-general, in which he said the Shiite group had tried to smuggle Katyusha rockets into the West Bank via Jordan and that it would continue trying to do so.
Nasrallah made a statement that, "We are now experiencing fateful and historic days, and it is possible that what is happening now is not far from what happened in 1948," he said. "Every Lebanese who conducts an operation to defend Palestine is, first and foremost, defending Lebanon," he went on, adding "we will fulfill our responsibility without fearing anyone." (Albawaba.com)
© 2002 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com)
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