Projectile Launched From Lebanon Targets Northern Israel

A rocket launch was identified from Lebanon that exploded in an open area near northern Israel near Kibbutz Metzuva Monday morning, according to an Israel Defense Forces (IDF) Twitter statement.

The IDF said it responded with artillery fire “near the area from which the shooting was carried out” and against “open spaces” using “dozens of artillery shells.”

The attack comes against the backdrop of the resumption of rocket fire from Gaza by Palestinian militants towards southern Israel, which has been blamed on clashes between Palestinians and Israeli police at Al-Aqsa Mosque. [See FDD’s Long War Journal: Gaza-Based Militants Fire Rockets for Second Night in a Row.]

While there has not been official blame placed on a particular militant group, it is likely Palestinian factions were behind the strike with the tacit approval of Hezbollah. This is a strategy that has been employed before by suspected Palestinian factions, notably during last year’s Gaza war.

Suspected Palestinian militant rocket assaults from Lebanon are not treated by the IDF in the same manner as those from Gaza due to the possible involvement of Hezbollah. This may be a reason for the Israeli military’s limited response to the offensive. Generally, the IDF targets terrorist military infrastructure it has previously identified based on intelligence following an attack.

This also brings up the absence of blame by the IDF in its public statements following the strike from Lebanon. The IDF omitted placing blame on the Lebanese government, Hezbollah or Palestinian militants for the rocket fire. This suggests either the IDF did not have exact intelligence on the actor(s) behind the attack or preferred not to publicly blame a specific group in an effort to contain its response.

It’s unclear what spurred Monday morning’s attack against northern Israel. Reasonable analysis can point to a Palestinian response to Israel’s closure of the border crossings with Gaza, continued clashes at Al-Aqsa Mosque or an attempt by Hezbollah to curry favor in the upcoming elections in Lebanon by attacking Israel.

Adding to previous attacks from Lebanon by suspected Palestinian militants, it appears the Resistance Axis, led by Iran, is becoming more unified in its response to Israeli military efforts against Palestinian militant factions and unrest at Al-Aqsa Mosque.

Joe Truzman is a contributor to FDD's Long War Journal.

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