Israel Strikes Terrorists in Lebanon After Rocket Attack

Counterstrike launched at suspected Iran-backed militia's weapons depot

(Jalaa Marey/AFP via Getty Images)
July 20, 2021

Israel Defense Forces struck terrorist targets in Lebanon on Tuesday morning in response to a rocket attack likely from Hezbollah militants.

The vaunted Iron Dome missile defense system intercepted one missile targeting northern Israel. A second missile landed in a vacant area inside the country. Israeli authorities did not report any casualties. Israel Defense Forces returned fire on the source of the missiles in southern Lebanon, where several Iranian-backed Palestinian terror groups operate. One human rights monitor said the Israeli strike targeted weapons depots possessed by Iran-backed militia.

Defense Minister Benny Gantz said blame falls on Lebanon for the attack, since it harbors terrorist groups hostile to Israel.

"Israel will act against any threat to its sovereignty and its citizens, and will respond in accordance to its interests—at the relevant time and place," Gantz said. "[Israel] will not allow the social, political, and economic crisis in Lebanon to turn into a security threat."

During the Gaza conflict in May, rocket and drone strikes came from southern Lebanon, raising alarm bells that Iran-backed Hezbollah would join Hamas in shelling Israel. Former secretary of state Mike Pompeo warned, due to their advanced weapons technology, Hezbollah's entrance into the conflict would prove highly dangerous. A Foundation for Defense of Democracies report published in May shows Hezbollah operatives remain deeply entrenched in Lebanon’s financial system and political interests.