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IDF strikes missile launch site in Lebanon

The anti-tank guided missile exploded adjacent to the border in Israeli territory, the army said.

IDF Artillery Corps personnel near the border with Lebanon, July 6, 2023. Photo by Ayal Margolin/Flash90.
IDF Artillery Corps personnel near the border with Lebanon, July 6, 2023. Photo by Ayal Margolin/Flash90.

The Israeli military carried out strikes against a missile launch site in Lebanon on Thursday.

IDF soldiers arrived near the border town of Ghajar after reports of an explosion in the area. They learned that an anti-tank, guided missile fired from Lebanese territory exploded next to the border in Israeli territory.

Arab channels said Palestinian factions, angered by this week’s IDF operation in Jenin, fired the projectile. No one immediately claimed responsibility.

“Against any violation of our sovereignty and challenge to our presence in our country, we will respond at the place and time of our choosing, in overt and covert ways, that will exact a clear price from those responsible,” said Defense Minister Yoav Gallant at an event in the north.

Eyal Zisser, Tel Aviv University’s vice rector and an expert on modern Lebanese politics and on Arab-Israeli relations, told JNS that the source of the launch was likely Palestinian.

But whereas the Lebanese terror group Hezbollah tends to take credit for attacks, which helps the IDF identify the source, Palestinian groups in southern Lebanon do not tend to identify themselves as the attacker, Zisser told JNS.

“With Palestinian groups, it is always more difficult,” he said. “We saw some rockets being fired in the direction of Israel during some of the Israeli operations in Gaza. This time after Jenin, maybe this is some sort of Palestinian response.”

The IDF responded with 15 rounds of artillery fire.

Jets were heard overhead in southern Lebanon.

The military correspondent for Israel’s Walla news site reported that “the IDF attacked empty land in southern Lebanon.”

Zisser described the Israeli response as “very limited.” Thursday’s attack is something that Israel “can ignore, contain and move on,” he said. “You don’t go to war for that.”

According to Lebanese media reports, the anti-tank missile emanated from Bastra, located between Kafr Shuba and Al Mari in southern Lebanon.

The IDF Home Front Command did not issue any special instructions for Israelis living close to the frontier.

Israeli soldiers in the village of Ghajar, on the border with Lebanon, after a rocket fired from Lebanon struck an open area nearby, July 6, 2023. Photo by Ayal Margolin/Flash90.

Citing three “security sources,” Reuters initially reported that two projectiles were fired from southern Lebanon, with one hitting Lebanese territory and the second striking near a “disputed area at the border.”

A source in the Lebanese army intelligence services told the Arabic-language Al-Araby Al-Jadeed that the incident is under investigation. A source from the United Nations’ peacekeeping force in southern Lebanon (UNIFIL) told Al-Araby Al-Jadeed that it was attempting to verify that a missile was fired from Lebanon towards Israel, adding that “nothing is clear yet.”

Tensions have been high along the border after Hezbollah pitched two tents on the Israeli side of the demarcation line. It was reported on Sunday that the group removed one of the tents.

The outpost was set up in early April, north of the border fence but on the Israeli side of the U.N.-marked Blue Line in the Mount Dov region. The position, located across from an Israeli military base, was reportedly manned by three to eight armed terrorists.

The move comes after Jerusalem reportedly sent a message to Hezbollah threatening a confrontation unless the outpost was removed.

Zisser told JNS that he would not connect the missile launch with the Hezbollah outpost. “Maybe, but I don’t think this is the case,” he said.

A Hezbollah flag on the Lebanese side of the border, as seen from the Israeli side, June 27, 2023. Photo by Ayal Margolin/Flash90.

Thursday’s missile launch also comes amid tensions in Judea and Samaria, following a major counter-terror operation in Jenin in the early hours Monday. More than 1,000 IDF troops — thought to be the largest deployment in Judea and Samaria in two decades — participated in the two-day raid.

A Palestinian terrorist drove his car into pedestrians at a bus stop on Pinchas Rosen Street in Tel Aviv’s northeastern Ramat Hahayal neighborhood on Tuesday.

He then got out of the vehicle and stabbed additional victims with a sharp object, police said. There were seven victims in total, and a pregnant mother lost her baby.

The Israeli military struck Hamas weapons-making facilities in the Gaza Strip overnight Tuesday, in response to a barrage of rockets launched from the Hamas-controlled enclave.

Five rockets were fired into Israeli territory from Gaza, all of which were intercepted by Israel’s Iron Dome air-defense system. Shrapnel from one of the rockets struck a home in Sderot, causing damage.

In April, the Gaza Strip-based Hamas fired 34 rockets from southern Lebanon towards northern Israel, in the biggest attack emanating from the Hezbollah-controlled country since the 2006 war.

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