Militants in Lebanon and the Gaza Strip fired dozens of rockets into Israel on Thursday after the Jewish celebration of Passover began on Wednesday evening.
Militants in Lebanon fired 34 rockets over Israel’s northern border, according to the Israeli military. Twenty-five of the rockets were shot down by Israel’s Iron Dome defense system, five more struck Israeli territory, and the rest are still under investigation by the Israeli military, according to the Associated Press.
Around the same time Israel faced a heavy barrage from the north, terrorists in the Gaza Strip launched rockets to the south. The militants launched seven rockets that exploded in midair Thursday morning, according to Fox News.
No group has yet claimed responsibility for the rocket barrage from Lebanon. Tensions between Israel and Hezbollah, a Lebanon-based terror group, have been rising in recent weeks. The terror group on Thursday condemned Israel for a police raid on Jerusalem’s Al-Aqsa Mosque, the third holiest site in Islam, after hundreds of Palestinians tried to lock themselves in the mosque overnight. The mosque is located on Jerusalem’s Temple Mount, the holiest site in Judaism.
Israeli security forces raided the Al-Aqsa Mosque twice on Wednesday, arresting hundreds of Palestinian “rioters and mosque desecrators” who “barricaded themselves inside,” Israeli police said in a statement.
“After many and prolonged attempts to get them out by talking to no avail, police were forced to enter the compound in order to get them out,” police said.
“When the police entered, stones were thrown at them, and fireworks were fired from inside the mosque by a large group of agitators,” police said.
Hezbollah called the raid “a flagrant violation” of “religious, moral and human values,” according to the AP. Though at odds with Israel, the terror group has avoided open conflict with Israel since their 34-day war in 2006.
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Israel on Thursday placed the blame for the Lebanon rockets on the terror group Hamas, which has operations in the Gaza Strip, as well. Israel hit several targets linked to Hamas in Gaza on Wednesday following an outcry.
The U.S. State Department reiterated Israel’s right to defend itself on Thursday.
“We condemn the launch of rockets from Lebanon and Gaza,” State Department spokesman Vedant Patel said, according to The Times Of Israel. “Our commitment to Israel’s security is ironclad. We recognize Israel’s legitimate right to defend itself against all forms of aggression.”