Israel strikes Lebanon, Gaza following major rocket attack

The tensions escalated after Israeli police raided Jerusalem's Al-Aqsa mosque

Israel attacks Lebanon, Gaza Smoke and flames rise during Israeli airstrikes in Khan Younis in the southern Gaza Strip | Reuters

A day after series of rockets fired from Palestinian territory, Israel struck two targets in the Gaza strip and southern Lebanon early Friday. The border tensions and cross-firings are during a time of Passover and Ramadan celebrations.

The air strikes on Thursday had left several buildings damaged and two people wounded. The Israel Defence Forces said Hamas's "terrorist" infrastructure was hit in southern Lebanon. The Israeli military also noted that it was targeting only sites linked to Palestinian militants.

According to Associated Press (AP), Israeli missiles struck an open field in the southern Lebanese twon of Qalili, near Palestinian refugee camp Rashidiyeh. The strikes has also hit a small bridge and power transformer in the nearby town of Maaliya, AP reported. 

Reportedly, tensions were high after Israeli police raided Jerusalem's Al-Aqsa mosque earlier this week. The raids in the holy site has triggered violent confrontations with Palestinians inside and caused an outrage.

Lt. Col. Richard Hecht, an Israeli military spokesman, while briefing the reporters said that the army drew a clear connection between the Lebanese rocket fire and the recent unrest in Jerusalem.

Meanwhile, Hamas chief Ismail Haniyeh said that Palestinians would not "sit with their arms crossed" in the face of Israeli aggression, BBC reported.

In a statement on Friday, the IDF tweeted that it “struck targets including terrorist infrastructures belonging to Hamas in southern Lebanon. The IDF will not allow the Hamas terrorist organization to operate from within Lebanon & hold the state of Lebanon responsible for every directed fire emanating from its territory.”

While Hamas said that it had no information about the missiles fired from Lebanon.

Israeli warplanes had launched around 20 missiles in Gaza striking four new sites. In counter-attack, Palestinian militants also fired a new round of rockets at southern Israel, where warning sirens were heard sounding.

Israeli jets attacked an underground weapons production site and three above-ground sites, the IDF spokesperson's unit was quoted as saying by the Jerusalem Post.

The Israeli airstrikes are said to be the heaviest since a round of fighting with Islamic Jihad in August 2022, BBC reported.

The Israeli response came after Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu held an urgent security cabinet meeting.

"We will hit our enemies and they will pay a price for all acts of aggression." He also called for a calming of tensions, adding "we will act decisively against extremists who use violence".

Lebanese Prime Minister Najib Mikati condemned any military operations from the country's territory that "destabilise the situation".

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