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Israeli army says fires artillery at Lebanon after rocket fire, Middle East News & Top Stories

JERUSALEM (AFP) – The Israeli army said it launched artillery towards Lebanon on Monday (May 17) in response to rocket fire from the neighbouring country that failed to hit the Jewish state.

“Six failed launch attempts were identified from Lebanon that did not cross into Israeli territory,” the army said in a statement.

“Artillery forces fired toward the sources of the launches.”

A Lebanese military source told Agence France-Presse three rockets had been fired from Southern Lebanon towards Israel.

“Three Grad-type rockets were fired from the Shebaa Farms area”, not far from the Israeli border, the Lebanese military source said.

“The situation in the area is now calm,” tweeted the United Nations peacekeeping mission in southern Lebanon, which is in contact with both countries, several hours after the rocket fire.

It is the second time rockets have been launched from Lebanese territory towards Israel since hostilities flared between the Jewish state and armed Palestinian groups in the Gaza Strip last week.

Last Thursday, three rockets were fired from southern Lebanon near the Palestinian refugee camp of Rashidiyeh toward Israel, a Lebanese military source said. Israel’s army said those rockets had landed in the sea.

A source close to Israel’s archenemy Hizbollah said the Lebanese Shi’ite group had no link to the incident.

Protests have also been held against Israel’s air campaign on Gaza, with a Lebanese demonstrator killed by Israeli fire last week during a rally in the border area.

That came after a number of young demonstrators had tried to cross into the northern Israeli border town of Metula, according to Lebanese state media.

The Israeli army said on Monday that in recent days it had “spotted a number of Lebanese suspects approaching the security fence” and damaging it.

“The IDF views any attempt to breach Israel’s sovereignty with great severity, and will continue to operate in both overt and covert ways in the area,” it said in a statement.

Over 200 people have been killed in the exchange of fire between Israel and armed groups in the Gaza Strip, a Palestinian enclave controlled by Islamists Hamas.

Israel launched air strikes last Monday in response to rocket fire from Hamas towards Jerusalem.

That was in response to bloody Israeli police action at the flashpoint Al-Aqsa mosque compound in Jerusalem, as well as a crackdown on protests against the planned Israeli expulsion of Palestinians from their homes in the Sheikh Jarrah neighbourhood in annexed east Jerusalem.

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