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Rocket barrages fired at Israel from Lebanon as Hezbollah warns of clashes in Al-Aqsa News

Several rockets were fired from southern Lebanon on Thursday afternoon and at least one was intercepted by the Iron Dome air defense system over northern Israel, the army said.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility, but the launches came just hours after the Iran-backed Lebanese Hezbollah terror group said it would support “all measures” Palestinian groups may take against Israel after clashes at the hotspot. of the Al-Aqsa Mosque on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem.

Incoming rocket sirens first sounded in the towns of Betzet and Shlomi in the western Galilee, near the Lebanese border. The Israel Defense Forces said the Iron Dome identified and intercepted a rocket. Shortly after, the sirens continued to sound in other towns in the area.

Images circulating online showed smoke trails from Iron Dome interceptor missiles. The Magen David Adom rescue service said a man was slightly injured by shrapnel and a woman was wounded as she ran towards a bomb shelter.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was being briefed on the incidents that occurred on the first day of the Passover holiday and would conduct a review with military and security leaders, his office said.

The alleged rocket attack came as tensions rose following rocket attacks from the Gaza Strip, clashes at the Al-Aqsa Mosque on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem, as well as an alleged Iranian drone launched from Syria in early of week.

After those incidents, Hezbollah seemed to suggest that it might as well enter the fray. It was possible that the rocket launch from Lebanon was carried out by Palestinian groups based there, although it was unlikely that they would do so without the tacit approval of the terror group that controls southern Lebanon.

“Hezbollah strongly denounces the assault carried out by the Israeli occupation forces against the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound and their attacks on worshipers,” Hezbollah said in a statement.

Hezbollah supporters attend a televised speech by the leader of the Lebanese terror group, Hassan Nasrallah, in the southern suburbs of Beirut, on February 16, 2023. (Anwar Amro/AFP)

“Hezbollah proclaims its full solidarity with the Palestinian people and resistance groups, and pledges to support them in all measures they take to protect the faithful and the Al-Aqsa Mosque and deter the enemy from continuing their attacks,” the group said. saying.

Global concern has risen after Israeli police clashed with Palestinians inside Islam’s third-holiest site Tuesday night, sparking an exchange of rockets and airstrikes with terrorists in Gaza, fearing further climbing.

The fighting raised fears of a broader conflagration. Similar clashes two years ago erupted in a bloody 11-day war between Israel and Hamas. Hezbollah’s warning raised the specter of an even broader conflict.

Hezbollah has close ties to Hamas, which rules Gaza, and to the Palestinian Islamic Jihad group, which is also based in the coastal enclave.

In the summer of 2006, Israel and Hezbollah fought a war in Lebanon that killed some 160 Israelis, most of them soldiers, and nearly 1,200 Lebanese, including hundreds of Hezbollah fighters, according to the Israeli military.

Terrorists in the Gaza Strip fired a series of rockets early Thursday morning, setting off rocket warning sirens in Israeli communities near the border, the army said.

Rockets have been fired intermittently from Gaza at Israeli communities since fighting broke out in Al-Aqsa on Tuesday night. Israel has attacked targets in the Strip in response. Since then, there have been more rounds of violence in Al-Aqsa, as well as clashes in some Israeli Arab communities.

Border police stand guard in front of the Al-Aqsa Mosque on the Temple Mount in the Old City of Jerusalem during clashes with Palestinians, on April 5, 2023. (Ahmad Gharabli/AFP)

The riots came amid concerns of a possible escalation during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, which frequently sees a rise in tensions between Israelis and Palestinians, and coincides this year with Passover and Passover. Easter began on Wednesday night. The first two weeks of Ramadan had passed relatively quietly.

The Temple Mount is the holiest site in Judaism and is revered as the location of both ancient Jewish temples. The complex is the third holiest site in Islam and is administered by Jordan as part of a delicate agreement with Israel.

Tens of thousands of worshipers visit Al-Aqsa during the month of Ramadan, regularly leading to increased tensions with Israel and violence.

Hamas, which rules Gaza, denounced Tuesday’s police raid on the mosque as an “unprecedented crime” and called on Palestinians in the West Bank to “go en masse to the Al-Aqsa Mosque to defend it.”

Times of Israel staff contributed to this report.

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