The Hezbollah resistance movement made a statement Thursday saying, "The Islamic resistance will bombard [the northern Israeli city of] Haifa as soon as the Israeli aggression reaches Beirut or the southern suburbs." And late on Thursday, as Israeli forces began their assault on the southern suburbs of Beirut, missiles landed in the city of Haifa, 35 km south of the Israel-Lebanon border, for the first time in the history of the Israeli-Lebanese conflict.
The attack on marked a new stage in the quickly escalating conflict. Hezbollah is the only group to have defeated the Israeli army in the history of the Israeli army’s existence, having pushed the invading Israeli army back to the border in the late eighties.
No one was hurt, but earlier Thursday two Israelis were killed in separate rocket attacks in northern Israel. A 40-year-old woman was killed when a Katyusha rocket hit her apartment in Nahariya, in northern Israel (10 km south of the Lebanese border), medical sources reported Thursday. Medics said 27 people, including children, had been wounded in the city. Several rockets also hit the town of Safed, 15 km from the border, killing one Israeli and wounding several.
Hezbollah, the Lebanese Resistance Movement, said it had fired 60 rockets into northern Israel, after Israeli forces invaded southern Lebanon, killing 53 Lebanese civilians, including at least ten children.
Israeli War Minister Amir Peretz said after the attack, "We expected Hezbollah to break the rules and now we are going to break them."
Internal minister Avi Dichter added that the Lebanese militia has no legitimacy in launching cross-border attacks, adding, "We have international recognition, especially from the United Nations, which has recognized the border with Lebanon as an international border which has to be controlled by an army. We need to be on one side and the Lebanese government on the other. There is no place for Hezbollah there." Those living in southern Lebanon, particularly in the Israeli-occupied Sheba’a Farms area, have long complained of Israeli settlement expansion into Lebanon, but to no avail.