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IDF foils attempt to smuggle drugs, ammunition into Israel from Lebanon

41 bags of an unnamed drug and one package of ammo seized; worth hundreds of thousands of shekels

Drugs and ammunition seized during a smuggling attempt on the Lebanon border, on November 20, 2021. (Israel Defense Forces)
Drugs and ammunition seized during a smuggling attempt on the Lebanon border, on November 20, 2021. (Israel Defense Forces)

Israeli troops foiled an attempt to smuggle drugs and ammunition worth hundreds of thousands of shekels into Israel from Lebanon on Saturday afternoon, the military said.

According to the Israel Defense Forces, soldiers monitoring an area near the town of Metula spotted a suspect smuggling packages into the country, and dispatched troops to the scene.

Forces seized 41 bags of an unnamed drug and one package of ammunition, with an estimated street value of hundreds of thousands of shekels. The drugs and ammunition were handed over to the Israel Police.

A military spokesperson said troops and police officers were continuing to search for the suspect, who fled the scene.

Earlier this year, Israeli security forces foiled several smuggling attempts of hashish and firearms into Israel from Lebanon, potentially on behalf of the Hezbollah terrorist organization, according to the military.

Hezbollah has long maintained control over the area adjacent to the border with Israel and is unlikely to have been unaware of such smuggling operations.

The terror group is known to fund its activities through drug sales around the world, including producing large amounts of hashish in eastern Lebanon.

Also Saturday, troops foiled an attempt to smuggle 120 kilograms (265 lbs) of cocaine and marijuana worth tens of millions of shekels into Israel from Egypt.

Cocaine and marijuana seized during a smuggling attempt on the Egypt border, on November 20, 2021. (Israel Defense Forces)

The Israeli-Egyptian border has been used for years as a smuggling location, particularly for marijuana, but for other drugs as well.

The IDF updated its rules of engagement last week to allow soldiers to more easily open fire at suspected thieves and smugglers, in a bid to crack down on crime.

Under the IDF’s new open-fire regulations, troops will be permitted to use deadly force in cases of thefts of weapons and ammunition from military bases, break-ins at bases and firing ranges, and smuggling attempts along the Israeli-Egyptian border, according to the military.

In the past, soldiers could only open fire in those circumstances if their lives were in immediate danger, a fact that was generally known by criminals.

Judah Ari Gross contributed to this report.

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