JERUSALEM, (AP) -Two Katyusha rockets fell on northern Israel Sunday, the first fired from Lebanon since last summer’s inconclusive war with Hezbollah guerrillas. No one was hurt, but there was some damage, police and the military said.
Hezbollah denied firing the rockets in a broadcast on the militant group’s Al-Manar television.
The attack raised the possibility of Israeli reprisal and a new flareup between the two countries. It came as Prime Minister Ehud Olmert was arriving in the United States for talks, and a new defense minister — former premier and army chief Ehud Barak — was about to take over from Amir Peretz.
Peretz was convening military and security commanders for a meeting that was planned before the rocket attack. Security officials said they would discuss an Israeli response.
There was no immediate comment from the Lebanese government.
One of the rockets hit a factory and the other hit a car. Channel 2 TV’s Arab affairs analyst, Ehud Yaari, said a splinter Palestinian group in Lebanon was probably behind the attack — not Hezbollah.
The rockets exploded near the northern town of Kiryat Shemona, hard hit during last summer’s war, when almost 4,000 rockets were fired at Israel. The mayor of the town, Haim Barbivai, called for a tough response from both the Israeli and Lebanese governments. “Heaven help us if we have another summer like the last one. That would be a tragedy,” he told Channel 2.
Eli Bin, director of the Magen David Adom rescue service, said no one was hurt.
Nir Mariash, a local police commander, told Channel 2 that residents in Israel’s north were instructed to “to maintain normal life.”
The privately owned Lebanese Broadcasting Corporation LBC channel reported three rockets were fired at Israel came from the village of Taibeh, but did not say who fired them.
A sign at a mineral water factory in the northern part of Kiryat Shemona was pockmarked by shrapnel from one of the rockets.
The 2006 war started with a cross-border raid by Hezbollah in which three Israeli soldiers were killed and two captured. Israel launched a full-scale air offensive against Hezbollah targets and Lebanese infrastructure. The war ended inconclusively after 34 days.