(ADDS INJURED, MORE DETAILS)
By Worthy News Staff with reporting by Worthy News' Stefan J. Bos
JERUSALEM, ISRAEL (Worthy News)-- At least two people were injured when rockets fired from Lebanon landed in the north of Israel early Thursday, January 8, officials said, raising fears militants of the Lebanon-based Hezbollah group were preparing to support fighters of Hamas, who have fired rockets from Gaza.
In recent days Israeli forces were in an extra state of alert along the borders with Lebanon, apparently in anticipation of rocket attacks from Hezbollah militants in that country.
Lebanese militants fired barrages of rockets into northern Israel early Thursday, January 8, striking a nursing home and threatening to open a second front for the Jewish state as it pushed forward with its offensive in the Gaza Strip, witnesses and officials said.
One of the Lebanese rockets reportedly went through the roof of a Nahariya retirement home and exploded in the kitchen as about 25 elderly residents were eating breakfast in the adjacent dining hall, The Associated Press (AP) news agency reported. One resident suffered a broken leg, another bruises, apparently from slipping on the floor after emergency sprinklers came on.
"The rocket entered through the roof, hurling the water heaters into the air. It went through bedrooms upstairs and then into the kitchen. There was a serious blast," AP quoted Henry Carmelli, the home's manager, as saying.
A second rocket barrage later struck northern Israel, though no injuries were immediately reported, Israeli radio and television stations said.
Thursday's strikes against Israel, came after Israeli planes reportedly made 60 air strikes on Gaza in a single night. Israel killed at least five people in the latest attacks, including four militants, raising the death toll from its 13-day offensive to nearly 700, according to Palestinian medical officials.
Hezbollah has made it clear it is opposed to Israel's current offensive in Gaza, which Israel says is aimed at ending rocket attacks, but which United Nations officials have described as "disproportionate" as hundreds of Palestinians have died.
With roughly half the dead believed to be civilians, international efforts to broker a cease-fire have increased.
However Israel says over 6,000 rockets have been fired by Hamas in recent years, and that its people can not be held hostage by the group.
The rockets on Israel's north raised the specter of renewed hostilities with Hezbollah, just 2 1/2 years after Israel battled the guerrilla group to a 34-day stalemate, observers said. Hezbollah started the 2006 war as Israel was battling Palestinian militants in Gaza.