No group in Lebanon claimed responsibility. Hizbullah, which controls
southern Lebanon, denied any link to the rocket attack. On Jan. 7, Hizbullah
secretary-general Hassan Nasrallah warned Israel of renewed confrontation.
"Had Hizbullah wanted to prevent the rocket attack on the Western
Galilee, it would have done so," Israeli military analyst Ron Ben-Yishai
said. "It is difficult to imagine that the organizations that fired the
Katyushas -- apparently Palestinian groups or radical Islamists — could
have transferred their rockets to the area, positioned them and fired them
toward Israel without Hizbullah's knowledge."
Officials said the intelligence community assessed that Hizbullah was
permitted by Iran to arrange the rocket attack to demonstrate solidarity
with the Hamas regime in the Gaza Strip. They said Israel would not escalate
in Lebanon, and did not expect additional rocket strikes from its northern
"Even though we have the ability to respond with great force, the
response needs to be carefully considered and responsible," Israeli Interior
Minister Meir Sheetrit said. "We don't need to play into their hands."
Officials said Iran has maintained restraint amid the Israeli invasion
of the Gaza Strip. They said although Iran has been advising Hamas on
weapons and tactics, Teheran has taken a low public profile during the
"Iran wants to score points with [U.S. President-elect Barack] Obama,
and this is an excellent opportunity to show that it is a responsible
regional player," the official said.