Hezbollah Rockets Hit Israel: Attack Coincides With Death Of Samir Kantar Near Damascus

The Israeli military is reporting that three rockets were fired into northern Israel from Lebanon, exploding in the Western Galilee, and that soldiers were searching for any signs of any un-detonated rockets or undetected targets, according to Yahoo! News.

In response, the Israeli military was reported to have shot artillery shells back into Lebanon. There have been no reports of injuries in Israel, or Lebanon, according to the BBC.

“Sirens sounded in northern Israel. Initial report suggests three rockets hit northern Israel. Forces are searching the area,” a statement released by armed forces in Israel was quoted.

A Lebanese source was quoted as stating that two rockets were fired from a still undetermined launch site within Lebanon, thought to be approximately three miles from the heavly-fortified and patrolled Lebanon/Israel border.

Israel, Lebanon exchange rockets, artillery shelling.

The rocket was fired from an area described as the “Hezbollah heartland” in southern Lebanon. The timing of the rocket strike coincides with the death of Samir Kantar, a Shiite militant said to be responsible for killing three Israeli citizens when he was 16-years-old, and to have served close to 30 years in jail in Israel, who was reported by Hezbollah to have been killed in air attack by Israeli forces on Saturday.

During his time in an Israeli prison, he reportedly earned the moniker “dean of Lebanese prisoners.”

The 54-year-old was said to have been in Ein Kinya, near the Syrian capital of Damascus, which is part of Golan Heights, in Israeli controlled territory, when the attack took place, according to AP. He had been released in a 2008 swap for the bodies of two dead Israeli soldiers, which was described as being “highly controversial.”

Of the people Kantar was accused of killing, one was a 4-year-old girl, which his accusers stated that he bludgeoned with a rifle butt; a charge Kantar has reportedly denied.

Israel soldiers search for rockets that may have entered northern Israel, fired from Lebanon by Hezbollah.

While Hezbollah has accused Israel of perpetuating the air attack resulting in Kantar’s death, no confirmation appears to have yet been reported by the Israeli military. Israeli Construction and Housing Minister Yoav Gallant was described as welcoming Kantar’s death.

“I am not confirming or denying anything to do with this matter,” Gallant was quoted. “It is good that people like Samir Qantar will not be part of our world.”

Kantar was described as becoming a “key figure” within Hezbollah since his 2008 release. The U.S National Counterterrorism Center and the European Union classify Hezbollah as being a “terrorist organization.” The center outlines a long list of terrorist acts, including assassinations, that the group has been accused of. Hezbollah is reported to support the regime of Assad by sending troops to fight against insurgents, such as ISIS.

Lebanon is roughly divided with the formal Lebanese government controlling the north and Hezbollah controlling the south, with the exception of Beirut, which is Hezbollah-controlled, being completely encircled by Lebanese-controlled territory.

According to the Jerusalem Post, some residents in Nahariya, in northern Israel, reported hearing explosions with the most recent rocket attack, but local officials stated that there was no need to open bomb shelters.

“There is no need for us to open up bomb shelters right now,” Jackie Sabag, the mayor of Nahariya was quoted. “Should the need arise, we would open them immediately.”

[AP Photo/Artiel Schalit]