Israel Formally Complains About Rocket Fired from Lebanon

By Julie Stahl | July 7, 2008 | 8:16 PM EDT

Jerusalem ( - Israel will file a formal complaint with the United Nations over the firing of a Katyusha rocket from Lebanese territory during celebrations marking Israel's 57th Independence Day.

The rocket landed in the northern town of Shlomi, extensively damaging an industrial building just before midnight but causing no injuries, the army said.

The attack happened at the end of an Independence Day fireworks display in Shlomi.

This was the third rocket to be launched at civilian targets in the past 12 months, the army said. Shlomi is very close to the Israeli-Lebanese border. Two years ago, a 16-year-old boy was killed in the town by a Katyusha rocket.

The Foreign Ministry instructed Israel's ambassador to the United Nations to lodge a formal complaint with the Secretary General Kofi Annan and the Security Council over the rocket attack, Israeli radio reported on Thursday.

The Foreign Ministry said the attack underscored the need for implementation of U.N. Security Council resolution 1559, which calls for the Lebanese government to disarm all militias.

Military sources said they believe the rocket was fired by a Palestinian terrorist organization and not by Hizballah. But they stressed that Hizballah is in control of the area where the attack originated.

More than 370,000 Palestinians live in Lebanon, the majority of them in refugee camps.

The Israeli army said it was investigating the incident and "preparing for all possible developments."

"We hold the Lebanese government responsible for all incidents conducted [from Lebanese territory] including these attacks, which are conducted by terrorist organizations," an army spokesperson said.

"[The army] will not allow terrorist activity and provocative actions aimed at civilians in northern Israel," she said. The army will prevent terrorist attacks and respond if necessary, she added.

Israeli parks were jammed on Thursday with hundreds of thousands of picnickers and holidaymakers. Thousands of Israelis visited Gush Katif in solidarity with those communities, which are to be evacuated this summer under Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's disengagement plan.

Speaking at an Independence event on Thursday, Sharon said Palestinian terror groups might not maintain the current truce following Israel's pullout from the Gaza Strip and that violence could resume.

Nevertheless, he said, he is determined to lead Israel down "a different path."

The day was not without problems. In the northern West Bank, Israeli settlers entered Palestinian villages, something they are forbidden to do. The army arrested them.

In a second incident, a group of Israelis reported a shooting, but the army could not confirm the report.

In the Gaza Strip, there were five shooting incidents overnight. Palestinians opened fire on the Israeli community of Neve Dekalim in Gush Katif in four separate incidents and at an Israeli army post near the settlement of Morag, the army said. Three mortar shells were also launched overnight but landed in Palestinian areas.

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