Lebanon and Israel exchange cross-border rocket fire

The coffin of former Lebanese finance minister Mohammad Shatah is carried out of a mosque during their funeral in downtown Beirut, on Dec. 29, 2013.
Anwar Amro

Unidentified assailants launched rockets from south Lebanon into northern Israel on Sunday, and Israel fired artillery shells back across the border, though no injuries were reported, according to news reports.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said his military had responded too "quickly and forcefully," while also saying the Lebanese government had "not lifting a finger" to stop the crimes of Hezbollah, an Islamic militant group and political party based in Lebanon. 

Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Yaalon said his country "would not tolerate" these attacks, adding that Lebanon's officials were responsible for all fire that comes from its borders.

"We will not allow incidents such as those of this morning to pass quietly," he said in a statement. "I would not recommend to anyone to test our patience and our determination to protect the security of the people of Israel."

The exchange of fire follows two days after the assassination of a former high-ranking Lebanese government minister and adviser to former prime minister Saad al-Hariri. A bomb blast on Friday killed Mohamad Chatah, who was buried today among anti-Hezbollah chants.

In response to the rocket fire and heightened tensions, a UN peacekeeping force based inside Lebanon urged restraint, saying it and the Lebanese Army are looking into the rocket attacks.