[Sunday December 29, 2013] The Israeli military has fired a number of shells into southern Lebanon, after five Katyusha-style rockets were launched against Israel on Sunday, according to officials.Officials from both sides say that the two countries were struck in uninhabited areas, without causing any casualties or damage, the Ma’an News Agency has reported.

Two Katyusha-style rockets fired from Lebanon struck an open field west of Kyriat Shmona, according to Israeli military radio.

Israeli army spokesman Peter Lerner tweeted, later, that ‘5 rockets (were) launched this morning from #Lebanon, (causing) one confirmed explosion in #Israel’, with the military still searching for others.

Tension between the two countries has spiked along the border, since December 16, when Lebanese troops gunned down an Israeli soldier driving in the area, Ma’an went on to say.

The United Nations monitoring force (UNIFIL) has confirmed the exchange of fire, adding that it had contacted both sides, urging them to ‘exercise maximum restraint.’

UNIFIL chief Paolo Serra stated, ‘This is a very serious incident … and is clearly directed at undermining stability in the area … UNIFIL’s first imperative is to ensure that there is no further escalation of the situation.’

The Israeli-Lebanese border has been mostly quiet since the 2006 war with Shiite movement, Hezbollah. UN peacekeepers were deployed along the border, following the 34-day war, which killed some 1,200 people in Lebanon, mostly civilians, and 160 Israelis, mostly soldiers.

The last time a soldier was killed in the area was in August of 2010, when two Lebanese soldiers and a journalist died, there. Four Israeli soldiers were wounded by an explosion, some 400 yards inside Lebanese territory, during an attack claimed by Hezbollah.

Last week, Hezbollah said that one of its top leaders was killed near Beirut, blaming Israel for the murder. Israel denied the charges and warned against any retaliation.

Photo: UNIFIL vehicle in front of the Ras al-Naqura Lebanese-Israeli border checkpoint, in
southern Lebanon — December 16, 2013.