Arab guerrillas fired a barrage of surface-to-surface rockets at the Israeli-controlled sector of south Lebanon Tuesday, police said. No casualties were reported.
It was the most intense rocket barrage on the area in five years, Israeli military officials said.The Nationalist Resistance Front, an alliance of Lebanese and Palestinian guerrilla factions, claimed responsibility for the attack without linking it to the Persian Gulf war. Its statement said the rockets were aimed at northern Israeli settlements.
However, Uri Lubrani, an Israeli Defense Ministry adviser on Lebanon, said Israel suspected the attack could be the work of the Palestine Liberation Organization as a show of support for Iraq.
"There is a partnership of destiny between Saddam Hussein and (PLO Chief) Yasser Arafat. In this partnership every side is asked to do what he can for the common effort," Lubrani said on Israeli state radio.
He also warning that Israel may not show the same restraint toward such attacks as it has for the Iraqi Scud missile attacks on Israeli cities. Iraq is trying to pull the Jewish state into the gulf war and drive Arab states from the U.S.-led alliance.
"One thing must be clear," said Lubrani, "the policy of restraint doesn't hold for Lebanon. I have news for whoever expects us to sit and wait for them to come and do what they want . . . we must say at some point, we are also in the field."
A Lebanese police spokesman, who cannot be identified in line with regulations, said "dozens" of the Soviet-designed Katyusha rockets exploded in various parts of the Israeli zone at dawn. "Their exact targets could not be determined," the police spokesman said.
An Israeli army statement said some of the rockets landed just north of the Israeli border fence, but there were no casualties or damage from the attack.
The Katyushas commonly fired at Israeli targets from Lebanon carry up to 43 pounds of explosives, compared with the 300-400 pounds carried by a Scud.