Tensions high on northern border

IDF to escalate response if terrorists in Lebanon continue firing Katyushas.

katyusha hizbullah 298.8 (photo credit: AP [file])
katyusha hizbullah 298.8
(photo credit: AP [file])
"The IDF will escalate its response if terrorist groups in Lebanon continue firing Katyusha rockets towards our northern communities," said a colonel in OC Northern Command's operations branch Wednesday night. "I assume that there will be some sort of an escalation in accordance with events," he said, from taking responsibility to attempts from the Lebanese government, which are non-existent at the moment, to put an end to [attacks] from its territory." Tensions remained high along the northern frontier on Wednesday morning after a late night barrage of six Katyusha rockets in Kiryat Shmona and Shlomi and a subsequent IDF reprisal in Lebanon. Local residents of the northern city were ordered into bomb shelters overnight after two apartments were damaged by the rockets. They were allowed to leave the secured compounds on Wednesday morning. >>> Click here to read how the Ben Hemo family dealt with the destruction of their home < the="" spokesman="" for="" the="" popular="" front="" for="" the="" liberation="" of="" palestine="" in="" lebanon="" announced="" that="" two="" of="" its="" operatives="" were="" lightly="" wounded="" wednesday="" morning="" in="" the="" iaf="" strike="" against="" their="" bases="" in="" lebanon.="" the="" iaf="" confirmed="" that="" it="" carried="" out="" an="" air="" strike="" early="" wednesday="" against="" a="" base="" belonging="" to="" the="" pflp,="" a="" small="" syrian-backed="" non-islamist="" terror="" group="" in="" southern="" lebanon.="" wednesday's="" air="" raid="" was="" the="" second="" on="" naameh="" since="" the="" israeli="" troop="" withdrawal="" from="" lebanon="" in="" 2000.="" the="" pflp="" denied="" that="" they="" were="" behind="" the="" katyusha="" attack="" against="" israel.="" hizbullah="" likewise="" denied="" responsibility.="" oc="" northern="" commander="" maj.-gen.="" udi="" adam="" said="" the="" idf="" knew="" which="" of="" the="" palestinian="" groups="" was="" responsible="" for="" the="" attack="" on="" kiryat="" shmona.="" he="" said="" the="" palestinian="" terrorist="" organizations="" in="" lebanon="" were="" trying="" to="" escalate="" the="" violence="" in="" the="" area.="" maj.-gen.="" adam="" added="" that="" he="" hoped="" they="" understood="" the="" message,="" otherwise,="" he="" warned,="" the="" idf="" would="" help="" them="" understand.="" he="" stressed="" that="" the="" army's="" response="" was="" balanced,="" and="" will="" continue="" in="" the="" same="" manner.="" "the="" main="" message="" that="" we="" passed,="" and="" we="" are="" trying="" to="" give,="" is="" that="" the="" lebanese="" government="" must="" take="" responsibility="" for="" what="" happens="" in="" its="" territory,"="" adam="" told="">The Associated Press. "If Kiryat Shmona residents don't sleep quietly," the northern commander said "then the residents of Beirut won't sleep quietly. This is an unequivocal message." "This is in response to the firing of projectile rockets last night toward Israeli communities," the IDF said, and noted that it views such attacks with "extreme severity" and holds Lebanon responsible. On the other hand, Kiryat Shmona Mayor Haim Barbivai claimed the IDF response was too mild. He insisted that Israel should react harshly, or not at all. Witnesses reported warplanes roared over the PFLP-GC guerrilla base at Naameh. The base, which was used as a base for decades, consists of a maze of concrete fortified tunnels built inside a hill overlooking 7 kilometers of Mediterranean coast south of Beirut. Other witnesses said two air-to-surface missiles were fired and white smoke billowed from the ground. Lebanese troops at a checkpoint near Naameh sealed off the area, preventing journalists from approaching. Four people were treated for shock after two Kiryat Shmona apartments were hit by a Katyusha rocket fired from Lebanon just before midnight late Tuesday evening. Three impacts were reported in different locations in the city - one was identified as landing on Yehuda Halevi Street and one in the Vradim neighborhood in east Kiryat Shmona. Initial reports said that one of the impact sites was close to a high-tension wire, Israel Radio reported. Three Katyushas were also fired into the town of Shlomi in the western Galilee, two of their shells were found on Wednesday morning near the town; explosions were also heard in Nahariya. Security forces could not determine the source of the explosions.