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Published: Sunday July 13, 2014 MYT 5:15:02 AM
Updated: Sunday July 13, 2014 MYT 5:15:02 AM

Israel fires into Lebanon after rockets launched over border

JERUSALEM (Reuters) - Rockets fired from Lebanon hit Israeli territory on Saturday and Israel's army responded with artillery fire, Lebanese security sources and the Israeli military said, in the second such incident in two days.

"Initial reports indicate that at least two rockets fired from Lebanon hit open areas north of Nahariya. No damage or injuries, thus far," an Israeli military statement said, adding that Israeli forces had fired artillery towards the source of the rocket fire.

A Lebanese security source said three rockets had been fired from Lebanon.

Southern Lebanon is a stronghold of Hezbollah, a Shi'ite Muslim group that battled Israel seven years ago and is engaged in Syria's civil war in support of President Bashar al-Assad; but there are also Palestinian groups in the same area.

Palestinian militant group Hamas, battling with Israel from Gaza, claimed responsibility for the rocket fire from Lebanon, though it was unclear what kind of influence or presence the Islamist group had there.

Palestinian militants in the Gaza Strip have launched hundreds of rockets into Israel since the start of an Israeli offensive five days ago and at least 125 Palestinians, most of them civilians, have been killed.

On Friday rockets from Lebanon struck northern Israel and drew Israeli artillery fire. Lebanese security forces arrested a man suspected of firing the projectiles, the national news agency said. He was Lebanese and a member of "fundamentalist groups", the report said, without naming the groups.

It said he had admitted he had been accompanied by two Palestinians who were also members of these groups, and security forces were still searching for the pair.

The army said it had discovered two missile platforms with more rockets ready for launch after searching the area, and had dismantled them.

(Reporting by Alexander Dziadosz in Beirut; Nidal al-Mughrabi in Gaza and Maayan Lubell in Jerusalem; Writing by Maayan Lubell; Editing by Kevin Liffey and David Evans)

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