HAIFA, Israel – Hezbollah militants fired 11 rockets at the port of Haifa on Friday, seriously wounding three people in Israel’s third-largest city, as Israel called up more reserve troops, widening speculation that a major ground offensive against Lebanon has moved beyond the planning stage.
Air raid sirens began wailing shortly after 1:10 p.m., and five rockets struck the city. Smoke rose from near the city center and near the main port.
A second volley was fired just after 2:45 p.m., bringing to at least 11 the number of rockets that hit the city.
More rockets were fired elsewhere into northern Israel, the army said, with strikes reported in Rosh Pina, Safed and in several communities near the Sea of Galilee.
Rescue officials initially said that 10 people were seriously wounded in Haifa but later lowered that figure to just three. Another 16 suffered from shock.
Hezbollah has fired hundreds of rockets at northern Israeli towns from the Lebanese border since fighting began on July 12, forcing hundreds of thousands of Israelis to take cover in underground shelters. A July 16 barrage killed eight people in Haifa. Two Israeli-Arabs were killed Wednesday when rockets struck Nazareth.
Also Friday, a U.N.-run observation post just inside Israel was struck during fighting between Israel and Hezbollah militants. The Israeli army blamed Hezbollah rockets but a U.N. officer said it was an artillery shell fired by the Israeli Defense Force.