with massive artillery fire,” a military source from the Northern Command told
The Jerusalem Post on Sunday, shortly after a barrage of Katyusha rockets was
launched at Israel.
The use of the word “massive” was a reference to the
dozens of artillery shells directed at the southern Lebanese area from which the
rocket attack stemmed. The source was keen to underline the fact that this was
not an ordinary retaliatory strike.
Although the military has not yet
been able to determine who is behind the rocket attack on Kiryat Shmona’s
residents, one possibility is radical Sunni pro-al-Qaida elements – the same
type of terrorists who rocketed northern Israel in August, prompting an Israeli
air strike south of Beirut last summer.
The point Israel was making with
its artillery shells – beyond hoping to hit those who attempted to murder
Israelis – was that the identity of the attackers will have little bearing on
the response. It is up to the governments sovereign over areas used as staging
grounds for terrorism to prevent incidents that have the potential to escalate
This is a continuation of the message sent by Israel to Hamas
in Gaza last week, through a large military strike in response to a deadly
cross-border shooting that claimed the life of a Defense Ministry employee. It
is the same message broadcast by Israel days later, in the form of air strikes
on a weapons factory and arms storage site in Gaza, following rocket attacks on
southern rural communities.
The use of precision guided Tamuz
surface-to-surface missiles to destroy Syrian army positions that fired on
Israel in the past is part of the same pattern. After each of these responses,
the borders fell silent again for a time.
The warning is also directed at
larger enemies like Hezbollah, and those who try to arm it with deadly weapons
for use against Israel in a future clash.
At some point, Israel’s
warnings may be disregarded, and the IDF is preparing itself for just such a