Israeli Jets Strike Militant Base in Lebanon
JERUSALEM – Israeli jets attacked a Palestinian militant group's training base in southern Lebanon early Wednesday, hours after an Israeli border town was hit by rocket fire, the military said.
The base located five miles south of Beirut is operated by the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine-General Command, a small group that has been waging a decades long fight against the Jewish state.
"This is in response to the firing of projectile rockets last night toward Israeli communities," the military said.
It said it views such attacks with "extreme severity" and holds Lebanon responsible.
There was no word on casualties or damage in the strike, launched after three rockets landed in a residential area of Kiryat Shemona. The army said the rockets damaged some property but caused no injuries.
No group claimed responsibility for the rocket attack. Both Hezbollah guerrillas and Palestinian militants operate in nearby southern Lebanon.
In Wednesday's raid, Lebanese witnesses reported warplanes roared over the Syrian-backed group's base, a maze of concrete fortified tunnels built inside a hill that the group has used as a base for decades. At least two explosions were heard.
Other witnesses said two air-to-surface missiles were fired at the planes.
Lebanese troops at a checkpoint confirmed an air raid and sealed off the area, preventing journalists from approaching.
The raid came a month after Israeli jets attacked a command post of the Hezbollah guerrilla group in south Lebanon, responding to Hezbollah rocket and mortar attacks that wounded 11 Israeli soldiers and damaged a house in a border community.
Israel withdrew from an occupied enclave in southern Lebanon in 2000. While fighting in the area has dropped since then, the border remains tense and Hezbollah frequently targets Israeli troops in the disputed Chebaa Farms area.
Lebanon and Syria say Chebaa Farms is Lebanese territory, but U.N. cartographers who surveyed the border after the Israeli withdrawal said it belongs to that part of Syria which Israel has occupied since the 1967 Arab-Israeli war. Israel says it will discuss control of the area only in future peace talks with Syria.