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Israeli warplanes strike area near Beirut

Published on NewsOK Modified: August 23, 2013 at 12:47 am •  Published: August 23, 2013

"We employ various measures, both defensive and preventive, and we are acting responsibly," he added. "Our policy is clear: to protect and to prevent. Whoever tries to harm us should know we will harm them."

Lerner, the military spokesman, said the rockets were fired from a location south of the Lebanese port city of Tyre. He said two rockets landed in populated areas, while a third landed in an open field.

Israel's Channel 10 TV showed pictures from Gesher Haziv, a communal farm near the Lebanese border, of a large rocket fragment lying on the ground near a white car with shattered windows and flat tires and pocked with shrapnel holes in its side. Security men cleaned up rocket fragments from the ground.

Lerner said the attack was an "unprovoked attack on Israeli citizens" but that Israel did not retaliate.

He blamed "global jihad" elements for the attack, a term Israel uses when referring to groups either linked to or inspired by al-Qaida. Israel blamed the same elements for a rocket attack last week against the southern port city of Eilat. Those groups are active in Egypt's Sinai Peninsula, which neighbors Eilat.

Israel believes Hezbollah has recovered from the 2006 fighting and restocked its arsenal with tens of thousands of rockets and missiles. Officials believe Hezbollah is still wary of engaging in hostilities while it is involved in the civil war in Syria.

The Israel-Lebanon border has remained quiet since the monthlong 2006 war, although there have been sporadic incidents of rocket fire. Earlier this month, four Israeli soldiers were also wounded in a mysterious incident along the border.

The civil war in Syria has done more to elevate tensions, especially as Hezbollah has become increasingly involved in the fighting there.

Israel fears that Syria will transfer sophisticated weapons to Hezbollah and has carried out several airstrikes in Syria in recent months on suspected Iranian weapons shipments believed to be bound for the militant group. Israel has never officially confirmed the airstrikes.

In his statement, Netanyahu made his first comments about Syrian opposition claims that the Syrian army fired chemical weapons this week, killing more than 100 people. He called the reported use of chemical weapons against civilians "terribly disturbing."

"If verified, it will be a horrible addition to the roster of tragic crimes committed by the Syrian regime against the people of Syria," he said.

Netanyahu called it "absurd" that U.N. investigators inside Syria to investigate chemical weapons have been prevented from reaching the areas where the weapons were believed to have been used.

He also accused Iran, the key backer of Syria and Hezbollah, of using a Syria as a "testing ground." Israel accuses Iran of pursuing nuclear weapons and believes the international community has not been tough enough in stopping Iran's suspect nuclear program.

"Iran is closely watching whether and how the world responds to the atrocities committed by Iran's client state Syria and by Iran's proxy Hezbollah against innocent civilians in Syria," he said. "These events prove yet again that we simply cannot allow the world's most dangerous regimes to acquire the world's most dangerous weapons."


Associated Press writers Aron Heller in Jerusalem, Zeina Karam in Beirut and Hussein Malla in Naameh, Lebanon, contributed to this report.