Rocket Attacks Hit Israel from Lebanon As Gov't Considers Ground Offensive

( [email protected] ) Jul 11, 2014 10:08 AM EDT
Rocket Destroys Gas Station in Ashdod, Israel.
Israeli firefighters extinguish a fire that broke out after a rocket hit a gas station in the southern Israeli city of Ashdod Friday. Reuters

As Rocket attacks in Israel increase, many are worried that other Lebanese militants are behind some of the attacks and that Israel may use ground troops soon.

According to Fox News, rocket fire from Lebanon hit northern Israel Friday, a move that has led Israeli officials to suspect Lebanese militants may be joining the four-day conflict between Israel and Gaza militants.

The Lebanese military said three rockets were fired toward Israel early this morning, and the Israelis retaliated by firing about 25 artillery shells on the area.

An Israeli official confirmed that Israel retaliated for the attacks, and that the government is worried that the Lebonese group may join the attacks, but he was not sure if the attacks Friday were, "symbolic, or something more substantial."

Southern Lebanon is a stronghold of the Shiite militant group Hezbollah, which has attacked Israel numerous times. However, recent fire from Lebanon has been blamed on radical Palestinian factions in the area,  and The Jerusalem Post has referenced senior Israeli officials that say Hezbollah has not been involved in the ongoing offensive. By most accounts, Hezbollah has not engaged Israel in a strong offensive since a month-long assault in 2006 when it fired thousands of rockets into Israel and was decimated by Israeli airstrikes in response.

According to the Jewish News, The International Christian Embassy in Jerusalem has sent mobile bomb shelters to protect residents of Israel amid the escalating rocket fire by terrorists in Gaza and Lebanon.

"The International Christian Embassy Jerusalem is committed to helping those Israeli communities under greatest threat to find shelter and weather the storm," David Parsons, ICEJ media director "We have already sprung into action by placing two new mobile bomb shelters in [the kibbutz of] Kfar Aza along the Gaza border."

"Christians worldwide are answering our urgent appeal for funds to meet the growing crisis wherever we can," Parsons continued.

Mobile Bomb Shelters Delivered to Israel
CEJ executive director Dr. Jürgen Bühler, center, former MK Shai Hermesh, left, and Operation Lifeshield director Shmuel Bowman are pictured with the delivery of one of the mobile bomb shelters in Kfar Aza. ICEJ

Gaza militants already have fired more than 550 rockets against Israel in the four-day offensive, according to Fox News.  Israel's "Iron Dome" defense system has downed most of those aimed at major cities, but some have been able to slip through.

One rocket pounded a gas station in Ashdod yesterday, leaving a trail of charred vehicles and plumes of black smoke in its wake. The attack was the most serious in the four days of attacks, but as of yet, no one has been killed on the Israeli side. Israeli military attacks on Gaza have killed at least 95 people, including dozens of civilians.

A spokesman for the Israeli military said the government is doing its utmost to prevent civilian casualties, even calling inhabitants ahead of time to warn of an imminent attack. He said Israeli forces also fire "non-explosive munitions" at roofs as a warning, and gives the people inside time to leave before leveling a structure.

Israel blames Hamas for the death of innocent bystanders by firing from heavily populated areas claiming, "We use our weapons to defend civilians. Hamas uses its civilians to defend its weapons."

Israel has mobilized a force of around 30,000 ground troops for a ground offensive they are considering.  They would hope to deal a decisive blow if they use that strategy, but they fear more innocent casualties.