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IDF returns man caught crossing northern border to Lebanon

Army says suspect, held for two days after penetrating heavily guarded boundary, was under constant surveillance as he slipped into country, quickly stopped

View of the Israel-Lebanon border from Israel's Western Galilee. April 25, 2015. (Nati Shohat/ Flash90/ File)
View of the Israel-Lebanon border from Israel's Western Galilee. April 25, 2015. (Nati Shohat/ Flash90/ File)

The Israel Defense Forces said Thursday that it had questioned and returned to Lebanon a man who illegally crossed the border between the countries two days earlier.

It was the latest in a spate of incidents this week in which people were caught after sneaking across the border from neighboring countries.

In a statement, the army said the suspect slipped through the boundary on Tuesday.

He was quickly apprehended close to the point where he entered the country and taken away for questioning.

The army noted the man was under constant surveillance throughout the incident, but provided no further details about the event.

On Sunday, the IDF arrested two Lebanese men who crossed the border into Israel, and were found to be carrying 11 kilograms (25 pounds) of hashish.

The two men, identified as residents of the border village of Ghajar, were handed over to police.

The village has a long history as a point of drug smuggling between the two countries.

Also Sunday, two Jordanian nationals were arrested after they crossed illegally from Jordan, the army said. They were carrying no weapons. Their reasons for attempting to jump over the border fence were not made public.

In January, the Lebanese military said it captured an American man suspected of entering Lebanon from Israel through a hole in the security fence.

The man, identified by Lebanon as Colin Emery Doyle, was questioned by intelligence officers of the Lebanese Armed Forces, under the supervision of a judge. Lebanese media published conflicting reports about his mental health.

The border crossings come amid heightened tensions between Israel and Lebanon, after an Israeli military operation uncovered six tunnels under the Israel-Lebanon border.

Israel says the tunnels were dug by the Lebanese terror group Hezbollah in preparation for a major attack on the north of the country. Hezbollah has said they were old passageways not in use for years.

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