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Israeli military says dozens of rockets were fired from Lebanon

Israel's military said most of the rockets were intercepted but five had landed on its territory.

Dozens of rockets were fired at Israel from Lebanon but a majority of them were intercepted, the Israeli military said Thursday, in the latest bout of violence to hit the region in recent days.

“An initial inquiry identified 34 rockets that were fired from Lebanese territory into Israeli territory,” the Israel Defense Forces said in a statement, adding that five had landed in Israeli territory.

It said that “25 rockets were intercepted” and five had landed on Israeli territory and that information about the four other launches was under review, although it stressed that the numbers were not final.

The Israeli army said it intercepted rocket fire from Lebanon on April 6 after clashes between Israeli police and Palestinians inside Islam's third-holiest site drew warnings of retaliation from around the region.
Israeli police bomb disposal unit members inspect the remains of a rocket fired from Lebanon in the northern town of Fassuta on Thursday. Jalaa Marey / AFP - Getty Images

Earlier, the IDF tweeted that air raid sirens were sounding in the north and south of the country, as well as the Galilee region. 

A spokesperson for the Magen David Adom emergency service said in a statement that paramedics in Western Galilee treated “a 19-year old male in mild condition with shrapnel injuries to his limbs.”

They added that their teams also treated “an approximately 60-year-old woman who was slightly injured on her way to the secure room, as well as a number of victims with stress symptoms.”

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu “will chair a high-level security meeting to follow up on developments after the bombing,” his office said in a statement.   

Israel’s Foreign Affairs Ministry later tweeted that Hamas, the Palestinian Islamist militant group was “behind the attack,” without providing any evidence.

Later, the Lebanese army said in a statement that one of its units “found missile launchers and a number of rockets intended for launch in the vicinity of the towns of Zibqin and Qalila, and work is underway to dismantle them.” Both towns are near the Israel's northern border.

The strikes came a day after Israeli police stormed the Al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem’s Old City early Wednesday, firing stun grenades at Palestinian youths who hurled firecrackers at them in a burst of violence during a sensitive holiday season. Israeli police said 350 people were arrested. They added that one officer was injured in the leg.

Since Ramadan began March 22, scores of Muslim worshippers have repeatedly tried to stay overnight in the mosque, a practice that is typically permitted only during the last 10 days of the monthlong holiday. Israeli police have entered nightly to evict the worshippers, stirring tensions with young Palestinians who demand to pray at the holy site until dawn.

Tensions over control of the holy site have been heightened by calls from Jewish ultranationalists to carry out a ritual slaughter of a goat in the compound, imitating an ancient ritual sacrifice performed on Passover in biblical times.

No group claimed responsibility for the rocket attacks, but the Palestinian militant group Islamic Jihad hailed the rockets as “a heroic operation against the Israeli crimes in the Al-Aqsa Mosque,” according to The Associated Press.

The leader of the Palestinian Hamas group that rules Gaza, Ismail Haniyeh, also arrived in Beirut on Wednesday, Lebanese state media reported.

Palestinian militants in Gaza responded with rocket fire on southern Israel, prompting repeated Israeli airstrikes.

The Palestinian Red Crescent said that 50 people were injured. Separately, the Israeli military said one soldier was shot in the occupied West Bank.

The fighting comes as Muslims mark the holiday month of Ramadan. Jews began the Passover festival Wednesday evening. Many Christians, meanwhile, are celebrating Holy Week.