Rocket Hits Northern Israel; IDF Opens Fire
A Katyusha rocket fell in northern Israel's Sunday. No casualties have been reported.
The rocket fire was heard at about 7:00 a.m., near the city of Kiryat Shmona, close to the Lebanese border.
Local residents reported explosions and alerted security forces, who then combed the area to locate the points of impact and the launch site. Residents reported clouds of smoke billowing from the impact sites.
"I heard rocket fire," stated Kiryat Shmona mayor Nissim Malka, "so I called the IDF immediately." Malka noted that sirens have been disconnected, and thus air raid alarms did not sound in the city.
No state of emergency has been declared following the rocket fire, however, and Kiryat Shmona residents have been instructed to continue their work and school day as usual. Malka has advised local residents to familiarize themselves with their nearest shelter, however.
The IDF has reportedly sent artillery units to the area thought to be the source of the rocket fire, on the instructions of Defense Minister Moshe Ya'alon, and has opened fire at what is thought to be the launch site in Lebanon.
The area under fire is near Marjayoun, Lebanon, according to Channel 10. Lebanese security officials have told AFP that the shellings are "near the border region of Arqub."
The IDF stated Sunday that 5 rockets had been fired into Israel, but only one had made it across the border.
The IDF has fired about 20 shells into Lebanon so far in response, according to AFP.
Israeli media reports indicate that IDF sources have stated that they believe the rocket fire has stemmed from pro-Palestinian groups based over the border in Lebanon. These reports are still unconfirmed.
The IDF spokesperson's office stated Sunday morning that "the IDF responded immediately and powerfully" to the rocket fire, and that it has launched "dozens of shells" at its source.
"The IDF will not tolerate any harm to the residents of the State of Israel," the IDF stated.
The Israeli Army has also turned to the UN peace-keeping force UNIFIL over the situation, according to official reports.
Earlier this month, tensions rose between Israel and Lebanon after a Lebanese army soldier shot and killed 31 year-old IDF Master Sergeant Shlomi Cohen. The attacker eventually turned himself in to Lebanese authorities, and will be placed on trial there over the incident, according to Yaalon.