US says Israel has 'right to defend itself' after Lebanon rockets

AFP , Thursday 6 Apr 2023

The United States said Thursday that its ally Israel had the right to defend itself after a barrage of rockets from Lebanon following soaring tension over Jerusalem.

Vedant Patel
File photo: In this file photo US State Department Spokesperson Vedant Patel addresses a press briefing on March 27, 2023. AFP


"We condemn the launch of rockets from Lebanon and Gaza," State Department spokesman Vedant Patel told reporters.

"Our commitment to Israel's security is ironclad, and we recognize Israel's legitimate right to defend itself against all forms of aggression."

Israel said it had identified 34 rockets fired from Lebanon into Israel, with 25 intercepted, in the largest escalation along the frontier since a war between Israel and Lebanon in 2006.

The rocket fire came just days after Israeli police drew widespread condemnation and warnings of retaliation from around the region for storming the prayer hall of Al-Aqsa Mosque -- Islam's third-holiest site -- and assaulting Palestinians performing prayers.

Israel blames Palestinian groups for the barrage of rockets fired from Lebanon, an army spokesperson said on Thursday.

The violence in the occupied palestinian territories continues to spark fears of further escalation.

The United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon on Thursday called for restraint after the attacks.

"The current situation is extremely serious. UNIFIL urges restraint and to avoid further escalation," said the force which patrols the border area between the two countries that are technically still at war.

The last rocket fired from Lebanon into Israel was in April 2022.

*This story was edited by Ahram Online

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