Yaalon: Jihadists May Have Fired Rockets against Israel to Lure Hizbullah into Conflict

Israel stated on Monday that jihadists seeking to spark a conflict between Hizbullah and Israel may have been behind Sunday's firing of rockets against the Jewish state from southern Lebanon.

Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Yaalon said that the rocket attack may have been aimed at luring Hizbullah into an a conflict as part of the jihadists' war against the party.

Moreover, he commented that the civil war in Syria has spread to Lebanon in that a Sunni-Shiite struggle has emerged in the country.

Some sides are attempting to drag Israel into this conflict, said Yaalon.

Later on Monday, the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon announced that the Lebanese army on Sunday found four rocket firing sites with improvised launch mechanisms in the al-Khraybeh area east of al-Khiyam.

UNIFIL investigators, accompanied by army units, inspected the launch sites, all four of which were located in close vicinity of each other, it said in a statement.

UNIFIL also inspected one site near Sarda in southern Lebanon where one of the rockets had impacted after apparently falling short of its intended range, as well as an impact site for the Israeli artillery shelling indicated by the Lebanese army close to the rocket launch area.

UNIFIL’s air reconnaissance observed several other impacts of the Israeli shelling scattered around the same general area. UNIFIL radars had detected a total of 32 artillery shells fired by the Israeli army shortly after the rockets were launched and directed at the area from where the rockets had been fired.

Yesterday, a UNIFIL investigation team visited northern Israel and inspected one rocket impact site near Kiryat Shmona.

Preliminary investigations indicate that the perpetrators had attempted to fire at least four rockets towards Israel, two of which impacted in northern Israel in the general area of Kiryat Shmona and a third fell within Lebanon near Sarda. Initial indications are that the fourth rocket exploded at the launch site.

“UNIFIL investigations are ongoing in close coordination with the Lebanese army to unravel all the facts and circumstances relating to this incident of grave violation of U.N. Security Council resolution 1701 and one that had a dangerous potential to escalate further,” said that statement.

“UNIFIL is in regular contact with the parties who have reaffirmed their commitment to the cessation of hostilities and are working in cooperation with UNIFIL to maintain the calm that has since been restored along the Blue Line,” it stressed.

UNIFIL in close coordination with Lebanese army has intensified its patrols across its area of operations to prevent any further incidents.

The situation in UNIFIL’s area of operations is calm, concluded the statement.

Two missiles fired from southern Lebanon exploded Sunday in northern Israel, prompting the Israeli military to hit back with 20 shells against the South.

No one from either side of the border was wounded in the incident.

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