JERUSALEM, Israel -- Israelis living in northern Israel were surprised by a Katyusha rocket attack on Thursday.
For years, Hezbollah launched rockets at northern Israel, but it has been relatively quiet since the 2006 Second Lebanon War, when it fired more than 4,000 Katyushas on northern Israel. An al Qaeda-linked group claimed responsibility for Thursday's attack.
In response to four rocket attacks from Lebanon, the Israel Air Force targeted a terror site between Beirut and Sidon overnight.
"The pilots reported direct hits to the target," the Israel Defense Forces Spokesperson's Office said in a statement released on Friday. "The IDF holds the Lebanese government accountable for the attack."
"Yesterday's attack is a blatant breach of Israeli sovereignty that jeopardized Israeli civilian life," IDF Spokesman Lt. Col. Peter Lerner said. "Israel will not tolerate terrorist aggression originating from the Lebanese territory. The IDF will continue to operate to safeguard the State of Israel and its civilians."
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said anyone who harms Israel should know they will be harmed.
"Our policy is clear," Netanyahu said, "to defend as well as to thwart. Anyone who harms us should know and anyone who tries to harm us should know we will harm them back."
The Iron Dome anti-missile battery destroyed one of the rockets. The other three exploded in open areas near the northern coastal city of Nahariya, causing some property damage but no bodily injuries, though several residents were treated for shock.
The Abdullah Azzam Brigades, an al Qaeda-linked terror group, claimed responsibility for the rockets.
Lebanese President Michel Sleiman called the attack a violation of U.N. Resolution 1701, which accompanied the ceasefire that ended the Second Lebanon War in the summer of 2006.
The UN resolution also stipulates no military buildup south of the Litani River, something Hezbollah has utterly ignored. The IDF has detailed maps showing the precise location of weapons warehouses, bunkers and other terror-related infrastructure built and maintained by Hezbollah in southern Lebanon. Like Hamas in the Gaza Strip, the munitions depots are located in towns and villages, some in residential apartment buildings.
And like the Muslim Brotherhood, Hezbollah draws a distinction between its military and political factions though Sheikh Hassan Nasrallah is head of both. Recently the European Union designated Hezbollah's military wing, but not its political wing, a terror entity.
Meanwhile, Hezbollah parliamentarian Hasan Fadlallah did not condemn the attack, saying his party's policies against the Jewish state have not changed, reason enough for the IDF to hold the Lebanese government responsible for Tuesday's attack.