Israel orders call-up of reservist soldiers after strikes on Lebanon and Gaza

Amid international calls for calm, rockets have continued over the border

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Israel's army has been told to call up reservists after the country struck Lebanon and Gaza on Thursday and Friday.

The strikes were in response to a barrage of more than 30 rockets fired into Israel from Lebanese territory. Israel blamed Palestinian militants for the rockets, saying it "struck targets, including terror infrastructures, belonging to the Hamas terrorist organisation in southern Lebanon".

On Friday Israeli military chief Herzi Halevi made the order to call up an unknown number of reservists to work in air defence units and as fighter pilots and drone operators.

Likud politician Etty Atia called for “comprehensive activity in the territories” in response to the rocket attacks.

Despite the call-up order, neither side seemed keen to intensify the fighting.

The National reports from site of Israeli strike in Lebanon

The National reports from site of Israeli strike in Lebanon

"Nobody wants an escalation right now," an Israeli army spokesman said. "Quiet will be answered with quiet, at this stage I think, at least in the coming hours."

One official with a Palestinian militant group told Reuters they were ready to keep the calm should Israel do the same, with the group having "made its point".

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's fragile coalition government has been criticised for its response to the crisis. A spokesperson in National Security Minister Itamar Ben-Gvir's Otzma Yehudit party resigned in protest over its “weak security policy, which is costing us in blood”.

Israel's military said it undertook a number of ground actions overnight on Thursday, including the arrests of seven suspects in raids in the occupied West Bank, Al Ram and Beit Ummar. Charges against those arrested have not been shared.

The latest tensions arose after Israeli forces stormed Al Aqsa Mosque on Wednesday, followed by further invasions on Thursday and into Friday morning. Muslims were celebrating Ramadan at the mosque by praying overnight, something Israel has in the past allowed only during the last 10 days of the holy month.

Neighbouring Jordan is the custodian of the Al Aqsa compound, which is operated by an Islamic endowment known as the waqf. Only Muslims are allowed to pray at the mosque under rules established after the 1967 Middle East war in which Israel captured East Jerusalem, where the shrine is located, along with the West Bank and Gaza Strip.

Israel, Jordan and Muslim religious authorities helped to set the rules, known as the status quo. The complex also contains the Western Wall, which is the holiest site where Jews can pray.

During and after Friday prayers, the compound was calm, but some Palestinians chanted.

As tensions continued to rise, a shooting on Friday by suspected Palestinian attackers killed two women and critically injured a third from the same family in Hamra, in the Jordan Valley.

Later on Friday, the Israeli army said it shot down a drone that crossed into Israeli territory from the Lebanese side, near the town of Zarit.

Updated: April 07, 2023, 4:26 PM