JERUSALEM, (Reuters) – A rocket fired from Lebanon landed in northern Israel on Saturday, lightly wounding three people and prompting Israel to respond with a brief artillery barrage, the Israeli army said.
The attack presented another reminder of the peacekeeping challenges facing Benjamin Netanyahu, leader of Israel’s right-wing Likud party who was invited to form a new coalition government on Friday.
In Beirut, Lebanese Prime Minister Fouad Siniora said the attack threatened the region’s stability and condemned Israel’s artillery fire.
A Lebanese security source, asking not to be identified, said two rockets had been fired from near the coastal city Tyre and that Israel had responded by firing at least six artillery shells into southern Lebanon. No one was wounded.
The Lebanese army said it found two wooden rocket launchers in the Qleileh-Mansouri area south of Tyre.
The source said the second rocket landed in the village of Naqoura along the Mediterranean coast close to the Israeli border and site of the headquarters for the United Nations peacekeeping force in southern Lebanon. There was no immediate claim of responsibility by any group.
Ibrahim al-Moussawi, a spokesman for the Iranian-backed Hezbollah guerrilla group, said the group had no information about the attack.
The Israeli army said it responded with artillery fire.
A statement from Siniora’s office said Lebanon was committed to implementing U.N. Security Council resolution 1701 which ended a month-long war between Israel and Hezbollah in 2006. “Prime Minister Siniora (said) the rockets launched from the south threaten security and stability in this region and are a violation of resolution 1701, and these issues are rejected, condemned and denounced … Israeli artillery (fire is an) inexcusable violation of Lebanese sovereignty.”
The last rocket attack on Israel from Lebanon was on Jan. 8 when a Palestinian group said it had fired at Israel in response to the offensive in Gaza. More rockets launched on Jan. 14 apparently fell short of the Israeli border.
Some 1,300 Palestinians and 13 Israelis were killed in the 22-day Gaza operation that ended in a ceasefire on Jan. 18.
A spokesman for Israel’s Magen David Adom ambulance service said the three people were lightly wounded and had been taken to hospital.