The four rockets striking northern Israel from South Lebanon Thursday, Aug. 22, turned out to have been Grad 120mm rockets launched by the Jihad Islami from the Palestinian Burj Al-Shamali refugee camp near Tyre. This emerged after a stream of muddled and conflicting communiqués came from the IDF spokesman.
The Jihad Islami takes its orders from Tehran and the Lebanese Hizballah. One of the rockets was intercepted by Iron Dome. None caused casualties, except for three shock victims, but they did cause damage to buildings and vehicles in Kibbutz Gesher Haziv and another unidentified location near the coastal town of Acre. The fourth rocket landed on vacant ground.
Witnesses in Nahariya, Acre, Shlomi and the affected sites, all reported that the rocket explosions were heard before the siren alerts were sounded. They asked why Iron Dome had intercepted only one rocket – not the other three.
The general impression conveyed by this incident to debkafile’s military experts is that the rocket attack caught IDF unawares, notwithstanding the constant harping on the dangers to Israel’s borders emanating from the upheavals in Syria, Lebanon and Egypt. Even after endless military exercises and mock alerts, Iran, Hizballah and its Palestinian pawn were able to land a surprise attack on northern Israel.
They appear to have timed it for the UN Security Council meeting scheduled for Thursday night to approve the extension of the UNIFIL mandate for Lebanon. Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu has labeled Syria “Iran’s test site.” He forgot to mention Lebanon.
Iran and Hizballah want UNIFIL peacekeepers out of Lebanon because their act as a buffer between their forces and the IDF and an obstacle to their latest plans for igniting the Lebanese-Israeli border.
debkafile reported immediately after the attack:
Residents of northern Israel – from the coastal towns in the West to Upper Galilee – have been ordered to go into shelters after sirens alerted the region to four rockets fired from South Lebanon. After returning fire, the IDF closed Israeli air space over Galilee. Three rockets landed around Nahariya, Acre and Shlomi and further east near Kiryat Shemona. A fourth was intercepted by an Iron Dome battery. The rockets were launched in two volleys from the Tyre and Kleia regions of South Lebanon, according to Lebanese sources. No injuries are reported. Police are scouring the area for the fallen ordnance.