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Israel retaliates following rocket attack from within Lebanon [Updated]

November 29, 2011 |  4:37 am

Recent calm along the Israel-Lebanon border broke early Tuesday after unknown assailants in southern Lebanon fired four rockets into northern Israel
REPORTING FROM JERUSALEM -- Recent calm along the Israel-Lebanon border broke early Tuesday after unknown assailants in southern Lebanon fired four rockets into northern Israel, the first such attack since 2009.

Israel immediately retaliated with a volley of artillery strikes targeting the source of the rocket fire, near the Lebanese village of Eid Tashaad.

No casualties were reported on either side, though some structures in Israel were damaged when one of the rockets struck a gas tank.

Israeli military officials said they do not believe that Hezbollah was behind the attack, and that they suspect it was carried out by a smaller pro-Palestinian militant group.

[Updated, 6:11 a.m., Nov. 28: On Tuesday afternoon local time, Abdullah Azzam Brigades, a militant group believed to be affiliated with Al Qaeda, claimed responsibility for the attack. The same group fired rockets against Israel from southern Lebanon in 2009.]

Israeli officials demanded that the Lebanese government investigate the attack.

"The Lebanese government is responsible for whatever happens within its border and that which leaves its borders," Israeli Home Front Defense Minister Matan Vilnai said Tuesday.

Though rocket attacks from the Gaza Strip have continued to hit Israel in recent years, such violence has largely stopped along the northern border following the 2006 Lebanon War, when Israel invaded Lebanon in response to rocket strikes by Hezbollah.

The United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon, which monitors the border, said in a statement Tuesday that it would deploy extra troops in the region and urged both sides to exercise restraint. It called the rocket attacks a "serious violation" of the 2006 cease-fire agreement.

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-- Edmund Sanders

Credit: Israeli soldiers examine the damage after a rocket fired from Lebanon hit a chicken coop in a village in northern Israel. Photo: Yaron Kaminsky / Associated Press

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