01/08/2009, 00.00
ISRAEL – LEBANON
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Will rockets from Lebanon against northern Israel open a new front?

by Joshua Lapide
Five Israelis in the Galilee are slightly wounded. Israel’s army fires back. No one claims responsibility but the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine is thought to be behind the attack. Hizbollah issues threats as Iranian leader Larijani is in Damascus to meet Khaled Meshaal and other pro-Tehran Palestinian groups. In Gaza toll tops 700 dead and more than 3,000 wounded.
Jerusalem (AsiaNews/Agencies) – At least three Katyusha rockets (five according to other sources) were fired into northern Israel, leaving five people lightly wounded. Israel Defence Forces immediately fired five artillery shells at Lebanon in response to the rockets.

Since the start of Israel’s offensive in Gaza, on 27 December, this is the first time that rockets land in northern Israel; Nahariya, in the western Galilee, was the hardest hit.

Residents of this part of Israel but also in southern Lebanon are now afraid of a repeat of the summer 2006 war.

A few days ago Lebanese authorities had already ordered schools in southern Lebanon closed due to fear of Israeli reprisals.

In the 2006 war Hizbollah launched more than 4,000 rockets against northern Israel. Israel air strikes killed 1,200 people, mostly civilians, losing 160 people, mostly soldiers.

So far no one has claimed responsibility for the Katyusha attack. In recent days many Lebanese leaders had excluded Hizbollah military participation in the conflict between Israel and Hamas. But like in the past, it is probable that Hizbollah will let the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) of Ahmed Jibril to carry out attacks against Israeli and US targets.

Speaking to thousands of Shias in Lebanon (pictured), Hizbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah warned yesterday that Israel would find out that the 2006 war was like “a walk in the park” if it dare attack Lebanon again.

Meanwhile after a three-hour truce guaranteed by Israel, the offensive against Hamas started again in earnest. According to Palestinian medical sources more than 700 people have been killed and at least 3,000 wounded.

So far Arab nations have held to a very moderate position, slamming Israel for the violence, but also Hamas for its decision to break the six-month truce.

Hamas (and Hizbollah) are still getting Iranian backing. Iranian leader Ali Larijani met with exiled Hamas political Chief Khaled Meshal and other Palestinian groups in Damascus on Wednesday to consider an Egyptian proposal for a ceasefire in the Gaza Strip.

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