Israel strikes back at Palestinian group in Lebanon in rocket attack aftermath
AFPJERUSALEM--The Israeli air force struck a Palestinian group in Lebanon Friday, officials said, hours after a different organization said it had fired four rockets at the Jewish state from Lebanon.
August 24, 2013, 12:00 am TWN
The raid, which the Lebanese army said caused no casualties or damage, nonetheless drew condemnation from the Lebanese government as a violation of its sovereignty after it had vowed to hunt down the perpetrators of Thursday's rocket fire.
Israeli aircraft “targeted a terror site located between Beirut and Sidon in response to a barrage of four rockets launched at northern Israel yesterday (Thursday),” the military said.
“The pilots reported direct hits to the target.”
Palestinian and Lebanese officials said the target was a position of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine — General Command (PFLP-GC), a hard-line but secular militant group that said it had nothing to do with Thursday's rocket fire.
The salvo of four rockets, which caused damage but no casualties, was claimed by the Abdullah Azzam Brigades — an Al-Qaeda-linked group that claimed similar rocket fire on Israel in 2009 and 2011.
Israeli army spokesman Brigadier General Yoav Mordechai said Thursday the rockets were “launched by the global jihad terror organization” — an apparent reference to al-Qaida.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had threatened retaliation, saying on Thursday that “anyone who harms us, or tries to harm us, should know — we will strike them.”
The U.N. peacekeeping force UNIFIL said it had been in touch with Israeli commanders to press them to halt offensive operations and with Lebanese commanders to urge restraint.