A Hezbollah-affiliated reporter on Thursday said Israel had replaced some of its soldiers along the Lebanese border with mannequins in uniforms, amid heightened tensions along the frontier.
The Israel Defense Forces refused to comment on the matter, saying it does not respond to “foreign reports.”
Ali Shoeib, who works for Hezbollah’s Al-Manar news network, published photographs of several IDF jeeps parked near the Lebanese border, in which dummies appeared to be sitting in the front seat.
The IDF has been known to use mannequins in this fashion, placing them in bunkers or sniper’s nests in an effort to trick its enemies into thinking that these positions are full of soldiers and thus serve a deterrent effect.
Soldiers in northern Israel have been on high alert this week over fears of a reprisal attack from Hezbollah following an alleged strike on the terror group in Beirut on Sunday and confirmed airstrikes on an Iranian position in Syria that killed two Hezbollah members on Saturday night.
The Lebanese frontier was especially tense Thursday morning, following an incident the night before in which Lebanese troops fired on Israeli drones that reportedly entered their airspace.
The Israel Defense Forces believes Hezbollah intends to attack IDF soldiers or a military installation on the border, and not civilians.
In light of these concerns, the army on Tuesday restricted the movement of military vehicles along roads close to the Lebanese border. These limitations were not imposed on civilians in border communities.
Israeli officials have threatened a harsh response to any reprisals by Hezbollah, both against the group itself and against the state of Lebanon, which Jerusalem sees as complicit in the terrorist militia’s activities.
“The Israeli response to an attack will be disproportionate,” an unnamed senior officer told Israel’s Channel 12 news on Monday night.