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Al Qaeda claims Israel attack link

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A staircase in a residential building in Kiryat Shimona was damaged by one of the missiles Tuesday.

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(CNN) -- In what may be a sign that Abu Musab al-Zarqawi's terror group is expanding its operations, Al Qaeda in Iraq has posted a statement claiming responsibility for firing missiles from Lebanon into northern Israel earlier this week.

The statement, posted Thursday on Web sites used previously by al Qaeda in Iraq, cannot be independently verified by CNN.

The three rockets were fired late Tuesday from Lebanon into the Israeli town of Kiryat Shimona. The attack resulted in minor damage and no casualties.

However, the Al Qaeda in Iraq statement called the attack a success.

"After days of monitoring and surveillance, ... a lion launched 10 Grad (Russian) missiles ... from the Muslims' lands in Lebanon on selected targets in the northern part of the Jewish state," the statement said. "The brothers had accomplished the attack successfully, exactly as they designed it."

It is not clear why Al Qaeda in Iraq -- a Sunni Arab terror group that has launched attacks against Shiite targets inside Iraq -- would be operating in southern Lebanon, where Hezbollah frequently fires rockets across the border into Israel. Hezbollah has strong ties with Iran, a Shiite country.

Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's office had no comment on the statement, which was posted on several Web sites used previously for similar claims of responsibility by al Qaeda in Iraq.

The Israeli military said it held Lebanon's government responsible for not dismantling terror groups operating within its borders. Hours after Tuesday's strike, Israeli warplanes dropped missiles on a terrorist training camp near Beirut, run by the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine.

Al Qaeda in Iraq has claimed responsibility for two other attacks outside of Iraq: last month's deadly hotel attacks in Amman, Jordan, and a rocket attack in August that targeted but missed two U.S. warships in the Jordanian port of Aqaba

Jordanian officials have said the group also carried out an attack on Jordan's intelligence agency.

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