Air raid sirens sounded and blasts were heard on Wednesday morning in northern Israel, indicating that the area might have been hit by rockets for the second time in a week.
Residents of the Upper Galilee region and in the city of Kiryat Shmona said that they heard blasts and saw explosion smoke in the nearby area, reported local news service Ynet.
Local rescue and security forces are searching for landing sites of the indicated rockets, which might have been fired from Lebanon as in a similar incident last Thursday.
Sources in Lebanon were quoted as confirming that rockets had been fired.
The Israeli army launched a counter strike, firing artillery shells at the assumed location of the rocket launchers, reported local daily The Jerusalem Post, adding that at least three rockets were fired at Israel.
No casualties or damage were reported. Local residents have been instructed to stay near to rocket-proof shelters.
On Jan. 8, three rockets were fired from southern Lebanon to the Israeli city of Nahariya and one of them take a direct hit at a nursing home. Two people were injured in the incident.
The Lebanese government and Hezbollah denied any involvement in the previous incident, and initial probes by the Israeli army showed that the rockets might have been fired by Palestinian militants who attempted to disturb the north while Israel is engaged in a massive operation in the Gaza Strip.
During the Gaza offensive, the Israeli army and police have also been put on high alert in the north, amid fears that the Lebanese Hezbollah movement might launch attacks. Israel has warned the group that should it ignite a second front, Israel would retaliate massively.
On Tuesday, an Israeli Border Police patrol was reportedly attacked by gunfire from the Jordanian side of the Israel-Jordan border, two days after a gunman fired at Israeli troops from the Syrian side of the Israel-Syria border.
No one was injured in the two cross-border shooting incidents, which were widely seen as indications of the increasing anti-Israel sentiment in its Arab neighbors as the death toll in Gaza has exceeded 950 and is still rising.
(Xinhua News Agency January 14, 2009)