JERUSALEM – Two Katyusha rockets fired from Lebanon fell on northern Israel Sunday afternoon, police and the military said. No one was hurt, but there was some damage, they said.
They were the first rockets fired from Lebanon since last summer's war between Israel and Hezbollah guerrillas, when almost 4,000 rockets were fired at Israel.
Sunday's attack raised the possibility of an Israeli reprisal raid and a new flareup between the two countries. It came as Prime Minister Ehud Olmert was arriving in the United States for talks. In New York, an official with Olmert said the prime minister was briefed about the incident. "Israel will not succumb to this provocation but will monitor the situation carefully," the official said, requesting anonymity because of the sensitivity of the situation, indicating that Israel would not hit back.
Al-Manar, the Hezbollah TV station in Lebanon, broadcast a denial of Hezbollah involvement in the attack.
The rocket attack came as a new defense minister, former premier and army chief Ehud Barak, was about to take over from Amir Peretz, defeated in a party primary election.
Peretz was convening military and security commanders for a meeting that was planned before the rocket attack. Security officials said they would discuss how Israel should respond.
One of the rockets hit a factory and the other hit a car. Channel 2 TV's Arab affairs analyst, Ehud Yaari, said a splinter Palestinian group in Lebanon was probably behind the attack, .
In Beirut, there was no immediate comment from the Lebanese army, Lebanese security officials or the Hezbollah group.
The rockets exploded near the northern town of Kiryat Shemona, hard hit during last summer's war. The mayor of the town, Haim Barbivai, called for a tough response from both the Israeli and Lebanese government. "Heaven help us if we have another summer like the last one. That would be a tragedy," he told Channel 2.
An eyewitness told Channel 2 TV that she saw one of the rockets explode and heard the other one. Eli Bin, director of the Magen David Adom rescue service, said no one was hurt.
There was no immediate response from Israeli officials.
Area police commander Nir Mariash told Channel 2 that residents in Israel's north were not instructed to enter bomb shelters, rather, "to maintain normal life."
Channel 2 said the rocket fire came from the southern Lebanese village of Adaiseh, just across a ridge from northern Israel.
Channel 2 showed footage of a small crater in a street, and a damaged car. The station's military reporter said that based on the limited damage, the rocket was small. Police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld said the rockets were 107mm.
A sign at a mineral water factory in the northern part of Kiryat Shemona was pockmarked by shrapnel from one of the rockets.
The 2006 war started with a cross-border raid by Hezbollah in which three Israeli soldiers were killed and two captured. Israel launched a full-scale air offensive against Hezbollah targets and Lebanese infrastructure, as Prime Minister Ehud Olmert pledged to return the captured soldiers and smash Hezbollah.
The war ended inconclusively after 34 days.