World News

U.N. in Lebanon urges restraint after rocket attack

BEIRUT (Reuters) - The commander of a U.N. peacekeeping force urged Lebanon and Israel to exercise restraint after at least three rockets were fired into northern Israel from Lebanon on Wednesday.

A statement issued by the UNIFIL peacekeeping force said there had been no claims of responsibility for the rocket attack. Israel responded with two barrages of artillery fire.

The attack was the second on Israel from Lebanon since Israeli forces launched an offensive in the Gaza Strip on December 27.

Major General Claudio Graziano, head of the UNIFIL peacekeeping force, had been in contact with the Lebanese army and the Israeli army.

“He urges maximum restraint and works with both parties to maintain the cessation of hostilities,” UNIFIL spokeswoman Yasmina Bouziane said. There were no reports of damage or injury caused by the Israeli shells, she said. The rockets fired from Lebanon landed in open areas and caused no damage or injuries, she added.

“At present, we cannot confirm the exact location of the launch area,” she said.

There have been no claims of responsibility for the January 8 rocket attack from Lebanon. The powerful Lebanese guerrilla group Hezbollah denied any role and Israeli officials blamed smaller, armed Palestinian factions in Lebanon.

The UNIFIL peacekeeping force was expanded as part of Security Council resolution 1701, which ended a 34-day war in 2006 between Hezbollah and Israel.

Reporting by Tom Perry; editing by Michael Roddy