Tuesday, November 29, 2011

29-Nov-11: Rockets from our north - once again

Village in Western Galilee [Photo source]
With the bloody war between the Assad regime in Damascus and Syria's civilian population moving towards the end-game stage and inevitable regime change to follow, a certain long-held view of Israeli analysts may be being proven right. Syria, according to the theory, is likely to increasingly generate regional troubles to distract from its own rapidly-worsening domestic situation. See for instance "Bloody, Bloodier Paths for Syria" in today's Wall St Journal.

Early this morning (Tuesday) at least three, possibly four, Katyusha rockets were fired from Lebanese territory, and exploded in Israel's otherwise-tranquil Western Galilee region. Ynet says there are no injuries but several structures sustained damage from the post-midnight attacks. Firefighers were called in to cool down a propane gas tank that was hit by the missiles. Ynet quotes an Israeli villager who says he saw a mushroom cloud billowing in the sky followed by the thick smell of gunpowder. "It was 20 meters from my house".

The IDF Spokesperson's Unit, in its official statement, said "The IDF Northern Command is operationally prepared, and conducting an ongoing situation assessment in light of the incident... The IDF regards this incident as severe."

There's no response that we can find so far from the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon. As we noted a few days ago ("23-Nov-11: So tell us again: this is why peacekeepers are sent to the area?"), the UNIFIL forces tend to hear about matters like this on the news. So their reaction might take some time.

AP is saying this is the first rocket fire into Israel from Lebanon since October 2009 and that the IDF says it doesn't expect the incident to touch off a wider conflict. It's the eighth rocket attack "since Israel's war with Lebanese Hezbollah guerrillas ended in August 2006" writes AP in a sanitized reference to the Syrian and Iranian backed, trained, equipped and funded terrorists who are deeply entrenched among the hapless villagers of southern Lebanon.

Reuters is reporting that "some have worried about a possible spillover of tensions from a months-old revolt in Syria against President Bashar al-Assad and from a stiffening of Western sanctions against Iran over its nuclear programme".

The Jerusalem Post, quoting an IDF assessment, says it was likely to have been al-Qaida and/or Palestinian terror groups rather than Hezbollah who fired the 122 millimeter rockets fired from just north of the Lebanese border with Israel. That's the area most in need of UNIFIL supervision, we would say, and the site of continued military buildup for the last several years.

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