Monday May 20, 2024

Israel shells Lebanon as Gaza death toll reaches 213

By News Report
May 19, 2021

BEIRUT: The Israeli army said it launched artillery towards Lebanon on Monday in response to rocket fire from the neighbouring country that failed to hit the Jewish state.

"Six failed launch attempts were identified from Lebanon that did not cross into Israeli territory," the army said in a statement. "Artillery forces fired toward the sources of the launches."

A Lebanese military source told AFP three rockets had been fired from Southern Lebanon towards Israel. "Three Grad-type rockets were fired from the Shebaa Farms area," not far from the Israeli border, the Lebanese military source said.

In another incident, five people protesting on the Lebanon-Israel border against air strikes in Gaza were wounded Tuesday by tear gas cannisters and smoke bombs fired by Israeli forces, Lebanese state media said.

"A number of demonstrators climbed a concrete border fence, raised Hezbollah flags and banners, and threw stones," the official National News Agency reported. "Israeli forces fired tear gas and smoke bombs, leaving five people wounded."

Since last week, a series of protests along Lebanon´s frontier have been held against Israel´s air campaign on Gaza. That air assault has killed 213 Palestinians, according to Gaza´s health ministry, while 12 have been killed on the Israeli side by thousands of rockets fired at the Jewish state from inside Gaza.

A Lebanese demonstrator was killed by Israeli fire on Friday and on Monday, the Israeli army said it launched artillery fire towards Lebanon in response to rocket fire from the neighbouring country.

The Lebanese army on Tuesday said that 10 shells and seven flare bombs had been fired by Israel into south Lebanon in response to the rocket attack -- which no group has yet claimed. The Lebanese army said it seized seven rocket launchers -- six unloaded and one still carrying a rocket -- outside the southern village of al-Habariyya as part of a probe into who is responsible for the rocket fire.

Hezbollah, Israel´s arch nemesis, has yet to comment on either Thursday´s or Monday´s rocket attack. Calls for a ceasefire intensified, but Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu vowed Israel would continue its onslaught on the coastal enclave “as long as necessary,” before a UN Security Council meeting broke up after less than an hour without issuing a statement.

But the latest session again closed without consensus. “We do not judge that a public pronouncement right now will help de-escalate,” US envoy Linda Thomas-Greenfield said during Tuesday´s closed-door meeting, according to a diplomat.

Israeli forces and protesters meanwhile clashed at multiple flashpoints across the occupied West Bank and in east Jerusalem, hospitalising scores, as Palestinians rallied in solidarity with their besieged Gazan counterparts. Dozens were treated for wounds caused by live bullets, medics said.

France and Egypt are pushing for a ceasefire deal, while Qatar and Egypt are working another channel, via the UN. EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell on Tuesday strongly backed the manifold calls for a ceasefire, while urging Israel´s military to act in a “proportionate” manner.

Palestinians across the West Bank and in Israeli-annexed east Jerusalem mobilised Tuesday for protests and a general strike that shuttered non-essential businesses, in support of those under bombardment in Gaza.

Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas´s Fatah movement had called for a “day of anger”, a call echoed in Arab and ethnically mixed towns inside Israel.In Jerusalem, Ala Judeh, 24, said he was on strike from his job as a gas station attendant in a Jewish neighbourhood in west Jerusalem.

Thanks to this strike, “we are starting to feel we are not just their slaves,” said the Palestinian resident of the occupied east of the city.

Tensions again flared in east Jerusalem´s flashpoint Sheikh Jarrah neighbourhood, where Palestinian protesters faced off against police, who used stun grenades and “skunk water” cannon to disperse protesters.