IDF fires stun, smoke grenades as Lebanese heavy machinery strays over Blue Line

In response, two stun grenades fired toward UNIFIL troops in area, apparently by Lebanese army; no injuries; incident resolved without further escalation

Screen grab of IDF troops responding to Lebanese heavy machinery that crossed the Blue Line, September 23, 2023 (Used in accordance with Clause 27a of the Copyright Law)
Screen grab of IDF troops responding to Lebanese heavy machinery that crossed the Blue Line, September 23, 2023 (Used in accordance with Clause 27a of the Copyright Law)

Israel Defense Forces troops fired stun and smoke grenades toward a Lebanese “engineering tool” that had crossed the Blue Line at the border on Saturday.

A military source said the Lebanese vehicle was approximately two meters over the line.

Israel and Lebanon do not have a formal border due to territorial disputes; however, they largely abide by the Blue Line. The line is marked with blue barrels along the border and in some areas is several meters from the Israeli fence, which is built entirely within Israeli territory.

“A short time ago, IDF forces used demonstration dispersal means toward engineering equipment that had been identified as having the tip of the equipment over the Blue Line from Lebanon, in the Mount Dov area. The equipment returned to Lebanese territory,” the IDF said in a statement.

In response to the IDF’s actions, smoke grenades were fired toward UNIFIL troops stationed in the area.

According to Hebrew-language media reports, it was assessed that the smoke grenades were fired by the Lebanese army. There were no reports of injuries.

It was unclear what the heavy machinery was doing.

Army Radio reported that as soon as the engineering equipment was identified as having crossed the line, troops were bolstered in the area and a tank was moved into position.

However, the incident was resolved without any further escalation.

The incident came amid rising tensions in Israel’s north — as well as Gaza — with the deployment of dozens of Hezbollah posts along the Lebanese border, including a tent erected within Israeli territory and increasing patrols and presence by terror group operatives in the area.

The Iran-backed Hezbollah terror group originally erected two tents, but later took one down, while threatening to attack if Israel moves to dismantle the other one.

View of a Hezbollah tent that was erected on the Israeli side of the Blue Line, as it seen from the Israeli side of the border with Lebanon, on August 10, 2023. (Chaim Goldberg/Flash90)

Other recent incidents on the Lebanese border have included camouflaged Hezbollah members walking along the border in violation of a UN resolution, and Hezbollah activists crossing the Blue Line (though not the Israeli border fence) on numerous occasions, including attempts to damage the border fence and army surveillance equipment.

In addition, the IDF said Thursday in a rare statement on the matter that it carried out tank strikes against two structures in the Syrian Golan Heights that violated a 1974 disengagement agreement.

The IDF said the temporary structures — erected in the Mount Hermon area — were used by the Syrian Arab Army and were a violation of the 1974 Agreement on Disengagement signed between Israel and Syria, which concluded the Yom Kippur War.

Emanuel Fabian contributed to this report.

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