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Israel fires at south Lebanon after cross-border rocket launches

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By Reuters

TELAVIV/BEIRUT (Reuters) -Israel fired artillery at targets in Lebanon after four rockets were launched towards Israel from Lebanese territory on Wednesday, the Israeli military said, while a security source said Hezbollah was not involved.

It was the third incident of rocket fire from Lebanon since hostilities between Israel and Palestinian militants in Gaza flared up on May 10.

Israel’s missile defences intercepted one of the projectiles, another landed in open ground, and two fell in the Mediterranean Sea, the military said. The rockets caused air raid sirens to blare near the northern Israeli city of Haifa and areas to the east.

Security sources in Lebanon confirmed that four rockets had been launched towards Israel from Seddiqine, a village in the region of Lebanon’s southern coastal city of Tyre.

There were no reports of damage on either side.

One security source said militant group Hezbollah, which has sway in southern Lebanon, had not been involved in the launches, and that the group was trying to determine the source of the rockets.

Israeli military affairs correspondents said the rockets were probably fired by a Palestinian faction in solidarity with those in Gaza.

In an earlier incident, on Monday, six shells were launched from Lebanon towards northern Israel but fell short of the border, drawing retaliatory Israeli artillery fire. On Thursday, three rockets fired from Lebanon fell in the Mediterranean Sea.

Israel fought a war in 2006 against Hezbollah guerrillas who have access to advanced rockets. The border has been mostly quiet since then.

Small Palestinian factions in Lebanon have fired on Israel sporadically in the past.

(Reporting by Rami Ayyub in Tel Aviv and Laila Bassam and Maha El Dahan in Beirut; Editing by Toby Chopra)