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Israel treads cautiously as fire exchanged on border with Lebanon

Israel’s border with Lebanon is increasingly volatile like the roiling Gaza front in the south.
JALAA MAREY/AFP via Getty Images

Israel is going out of its way to prove that Hezbollah did not know in advance about the three rockets fired Aug. 4 at the northern border town of Kiryat Shmona. Military sources attributed the attack to an ad hoc local group of Palestinians from the refugee camps dotting the south Lebanon. According to the Israeli army, Hezbollah was not involved in the incident and did not greenlight the attack as it lacks the time, energy and resources for such an initiative. According to a senior military source, the hold of the pro-Iran Shiite organization on southern Lebanon is weaker today than it was in the past due to the rapidly deteriorating situation in Beirut and the resulting domestic pressure on Secretary General Hassan Nasrallah, meaning he may not necessarily be apprised such activity.

Still, it is hard to ignore the facts. Katyusha rockets were fired from southern Lebanon into the Galilee panhandle five times in recent months. At this rate, the children of Kiryat Shmona and its surroundings along the Lebanon border will share the experience of those living in the communities on Israel’s southern border with Gaza. Israel has often stressed that the occasional rocket firing from Gaza, euphemistically known as “spillover” or “drip,” was the work of rogue Palestinian groups operating without Hamas approval. That concept lost credence a long time ago.

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