Hezbollah fires rockets into northern Israel
March 30, 1996
Web posted at: 9 p.m. EST (0200 GMT)
TYRE, Lebanon (CNN) -- Hezbollah guerrillas, promising vengeance for two Lebanese civilians killed by the Israeli army, rained a barrage of rockets on northern Israel Saturday. At least 14 Katyusha rockets were fired from southern Lebanon overnight in two salvos.
At least two of the rockets struck across the border, according to security sources in Lebanon. The Israeli army also said several rockets hit the western Galilee region. Israel retaliated by shelling suspected guerrilla hideouts in the western and southern sectors of an Israeli-controlled enclave in southern Lebanon.
One civilian was slightly wounded and was treated on the scene in Galilee, Israeli reports said. Israeli officials said they were still evaluating damage from the Katyusha rockets. According to Israeli television stations, most of the population of northern Israel went into bomb shelters Saturday evening after Hezbollah leaders warned that they would attack.
The Hezbollah attack came in retaliation for an Israeli helicopter gunship attack earlier Saturday that killed two Shiite Muslim civilians and wounded another. The shelling victims were working on a construction site near Yater, believed to be a Hezbollah outpost.
"I know that the population of northern Israel has gone into bomb shelters tonight. I tell them, stay there tonight, tomorrow and after tomorrow because we are going to hit back," said Hezbollah Secretary-General Sheik Hassan Nasrallah, speaking on the Hezbollah-run Al-Manar television station in Beirut.
"Gone are days when they kill our people without vengeance," he said. "These are the days when we kill when we are killed."
Israeli officials said before the Hezbollah shelling began that their attack on Yater was a mistake. Israeli troops believed the two men to be terrorists, not civilians.
Israel asked the United States and Syria to mediate, and prevent tensions from rising between the two countries.
"Israel is interested in quiet on the northern border and has no interest to harm civilians," Prime Minister Shimon Peres' office said in a statement.
Peace efforts between Lebanon and Israel have stalled over the issue of the Southern Security Zone, which Israel and its allies in Lebanon have controlled since 1985. Hezbollah is leading a guerrilla war to dislodge Israel from the enclave.
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