Rockets Rain Down on Israel From Lebanon After Al-Aqsa Mosque Raid
Air raid sirens sounded around the country.
Published Apr. 06, 2023 9:38AM ET
Rockets streaked across the skies over Israel on Thursday as tensions in the region boiled over following consecutive nights of violence at a Jerusalem mosque this week.
The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) said its Iron Dome anti-missile system intercepted one rocket “fired from Lebanon” after air raid sirens were triggered in northern Israel. Minutes later, sirens also went off in the Galilee region on the Lebanese border.
The rockets were fired hours after Iran-backed militant group Hezbollah, which is based in Lebanon, denounced Israel for violent raids on the Al-Aqsa mosque. Police and Palestinians clashed on Tuesday and Wednesday nights at Islam’s third holiest site.
Dramatic footage circulating on social media appears to show several missiles flying overhead as explosions rumble in the distance. No official reports of casualties have yet been made, but Magen David Adom (MDA)—Israel’s national emergency aid service—released a graphic picture appearing to show an injured person being treated in a stairwell explaining that MDA crews had responded to reports “of three injuries in rocket attacks across northern Israel in [the] Western Galilee region.”
A later update from MDA said the report involved a “male with shrapnel injuries,” along with one woman who was “injured while running to the shelter” and another woman who had “stress symptoms.”
“MDA Alert level has been raised with EMTs and paramedics called in across the country,” the update added.
Lebanese security sources told Reuters that two rocket attacks were launched from southern Lebanon. Soon after, the sources say, a barrage of Israeli artillery fire hit southern Lebanon, though no casualties were immediately reported.
The exchange of fire comes after Israeli forces on Tuesday night stormed into the Al-Aqsa mosque in East Jerusalem to remove Palestinian worshippers inside. The site, which is holy to both Jews and Muslims, remains a flashpoint in the ongoing Israel-Palestinian conflict and played a central role in an 11-day war between Israel and Hamas in 2021 which left over 200 dead.
Israeli police released video footage of their officers being attacked with fireworks as they entered the mosque and arrested around 450 people on Tuesday. The force also alleged that “rioters” had thrown rocks at them during the operation.
The clash at the complex—which is known as the Temple Mount in Judaism—sparked a furious backlash. On Wednesday, Palestinian militants in the Gaza Strip fired rockets at Israel, all of which were shot down without causing injury, the Israeli military said.
On Wednesday evening, violence erupted at Al-Aqsa for the second night in a row. Israeli police again raided the mosque firing rubber bullets and throwing stun grenades. The latest violence came at a particularly sensitive time as Muslims celebrate the month of Ramadan and Jews began the festival of Passover.
On Wednesday, the U.S. Office of Palestinian Affairs tweeted: “Violence has no place in a holy site and during a holy season. Alarmed by the shocking scenes in Al Aqsa Mosque and rockets launched from Gaza toward Israel. We call for restraint and de-escalation to allow peaceful worship and to protect the sanctity of the holy sites.”