Three rockets were fired at the northern Israeli town of Kiryat Shmona from Lebanon on the afternoon of 4 August. Two of the three rockets landed in open areas in the town, prompting warning sirens, while a third failed to reach Israeli territory and landed within Lebanon.
The Israeli Defense Force (IDF) was quick to respond, firing artillery back at Lebanese targets within minutes of the sirens, then launching a second and third round of shelling two hours after the attack.
Local media reports that Israeli officials speculate that the southern Lebanese religious militia Hezbollah was not the perpetrator of the attack. They are pointing fingers are Palestinian militant factions in the meantime. The IDF’s social media channels have been active condemning the attack and stating that attack is “indicative of the Lebanese government’s lack of governance of terrorist organizations operating in Lebanon. The Lebanese government is responsible for all attacks from Lebanon.”
So far there have been no reports of casualties resulting from the attack on the Israeli town. Property damage appears to be negligible as fires have been contained. The Magen David Adom emergency medical service treated four civilians for anxiety attacks.
United Nations Interim Forces in Lebanon (UNIFIL) forces started patrolling the sites from which the rockets were presumably launched and noted that “It is imperative to restore stability immediately so UNIFIL can begin its investigation.” Meanwhile, locals in Kiryat Shmona are being advised to remain in bomb shelters until further notice.
UN peacekeepers were asked to relay to Lebanon that Israel would escalate its response if hostilities at the border don’t cease. The two countries have no diplomatic relations or direct lines of communication. In a statement, Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz said he sent UNIFIL a “strong message over the rocket fire from Lebanon.”
The Israel-Lebanese border has not seen active conflict since the 2006 war between Hezbollah and Israel, but sporadic rocket attacks orchestrated by Palestinian factions in Lebanon have occurred. The most recent of these attacks were two rockets fired on 20 July, to which Israel responded in a similar fashion.