Israel’s air forces conducted a raid on a Palestinian terrorist group in Lebanon on August 23, according to official sources, just a few hours after another organization fired four rockets into Israel. An Israeli military spokesman said after the raid, that Israeli aircraft "targeted a terror site located between Beirut and Sidon in response to a barrage of four rockets launched at northern Israel yesterday.” The spokesman confirmed that the pilots scored direct hits.

According to Lebanon's NNA news agency, the Israelis struck a position of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine - General Command (PFLP-GC), a hardline militant group which claimed it had nothing to do with the August 22 rocket barrage. It was the Abdullah Azzam Brigades, which is linked to the Al-Qaeda terror organization, that claimed responsibility for the rockets. No Israeli casualties were reported. The Abdullah Azzam Brigades conducted similar rocket attacks in 2009 and 2011.

Israeli Brigadier General Yoav Mordechai said on August 22 that the rockets were "launched by the global jihad terror organization." Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu threatened retaliation, saying "Anyone who harms us, or tries to harm us, should know -- we will strike them."

Two of the four rockets fired from Lebanon on August 22 exploded in populated areas of northern Israel, causing damage but no casualties. One of the rockets hit the Gesher Haziv kibbutz, just east of the Mediterranean coastal town of Nahariya. Another rocket exploded further south at Shavie Zion, a village between Nahariya and Acre, according to media reports. Yet a third was intercepted by Israel’s innovative Iron Dome defense system. The fourth missile struck outside Israel.

The August 22 missile attack was the first such event since November 2011, when the same Palestinian jihadis launched rockets from southern Lebanon into Israel. In that case, Israel also retaliated. Israeli defense sources told AFP that the PFLP-GC terrorist base hit was in the Naameh valley of Lebanon. The Palestinian group has a number of heavily fortified positions in Lebanon.

Led by Ahmed Jibril, the PFLP-GC is closely linked to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. Ramez Mustapha, spokesman for PFLP-GC, denied that his organization fired at Israel on August 22. In an August 23 statement, reiterated that it "holds the Lebanese government accountable for the attack," even while on the day before, Lebanese President Michel Sleiman described the rocket fire as a violation of UN resolutions and of Lebanese sovereignty, and urged security forces to capture the terrorists. 

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Spero News writer Martin Barillas is a former US diplomat, who also worked as a democracy advocate and election observer in Latin America. His first novel 'Shaken Earth', is available at Amazon.

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