Israeli self-propelled howitzers take position in the northern town of Kiryat Shmona following rocket fire from Lebanon. Image Credit: AFP

TEL AVIV/BEIRUT: The Iranian-backed Lebanese group Hezbollah said it had fired rockets at open ground near Israeli positions in the disputed Shebaa Farms area on Friday, escalating cross-border hostilities amid tensions with Iran.

In a statement, Hezbollah said the attack with dozens of rockets was a response to Israeli air strikes on Thursday which the Shiite militant group said had hit open areas in southern Lebanon.

The Israeli military said at least 10 rockets were launched towards Israel from southern Lebanon.

"In response to the 10+ rockets just fired at Israel from Lebanon, we are currently striking the rocket launch sites in Lebanon," the Israeli army said in a statement.

It was the third day of cross-border hostilities that threaten a period of calm prevailing since 2006, when Israel and Hezbollah fought a one-month war.

Israel launched retaliatory shelling and air strikes earlier this week in response to rockets fired from Lebanon and for which no group claimed responsibility.

Most of the rockets unleashed on Friday were intercepted by Israel's Iron Dome system, its military said, and the rest fell in open areas. There were no reports of damage or casualties.

Air raid sirens sounded in the Upper Galilee in northern Israel, and in the Golan Heights, which was part of the territory Israel captured in the 1967 Middle East war.

A Lebanese security source said the rockets were launched from the area of Al-Arqoub, near the Lebanese town of Shebaa.