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Israeli Air Force responds to missile salvo from Lebanon, hits 'terror site'

Israeli Air Force responds to missile salvo from Lebanon, hits 'terror site'
Israeli fighter jets hit militant targets in Lebanon on Friday in retaliation for a rocket attack launched at Northern Israel from Lebanese soil the day before. An Al-Qaeda-connected group has claimed responsibility for Thursday's attack.

"The IAF [Israeli Air Force] targeted a terror site located between Beirut and Sidon in response to a barrage of four rockets launched at northern Israel yesterday," a statement from the military read. "The pilots reported direct hits to the target."

The attack took place near Naameh, according to defense sources, AP reported.

The Abdullah Azzam Brigades - an Al-Qaeda-affiliated group  that had claimed similar rocket attacks on Israel in 2009 and 2011 – claimed responsibility for Thursday's missile salvo.

At least three rockets were launched at Israel from southern Lebanon, setting off air raid sirens in the Nahariya and Acre areas, Haaretz reported on Friday.

Lebanese sources said that four Katyusha rockets were launched at Israel. 

Photo from Twitter/@whatisrael

One of the rockets was intercepted by the Iron Dome missile defense system, Israel Defense Forces (IDF) Spokesman Brig. Gen. Yoav Mordechai said.

The Israeli army said it does not believe that Hezbollah was responsible for the attacks. Israel invaded Lebanon during an inconclusive 2006 conflict with Hezbollah forces.

The IDF reiterated in its Friday statement it "holds the Lebanese government accountable for the attack".

Lebanese President Michel Sleiman called the incident a violation of UN resolutions and of Lebanese sovereignty and urged security forces to find the militants and bring them to justice.

Meanwhile, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu vowed retaliation, saying that "Anyone who harms us, or tries to harm us, should know we will strike them".

Initial assessment: Global Jihad terrorists fired the rockets from Southern #Lebanon

— IDF (@IDFSpokesperson) August 22, 2013

Residents of the Nahariya and Acre area in northern Israel reported hearing air sirens and explosions, the newspaper says.

"I heard a weak explosion, and then in parallel to the siren, I heard a stronger boom," Keinan Engel, a resident of the northern town of Nahariya, told Army Radio. "I went to take cover, in a reinforced room." 

Eli Bean, director of Israel's Magen David Adom ambulance service, said no one had been hurt.

"There are no casualties. There are no indications or reports of anything hitting any populated area," he said on Army Radio. 

The IDF Spokespersons Unit is instructing citizens to stay near safe places.