IDF says structure found on its side of northern border, taken down by Lebanon

Military exposes concrete installation while doing work along security fence, with tensions still high amid tent dispute with Hezbollah

Emanuel (Mannie) Fabian is The Times of Israel's military correspondent

Israeli troops carry out maintenance and exposure works near the Blue Line between Israel and Lebanon, close to Misgav in northern Israel, June 12, 2023. (Ayal Margolin/Flash90)
Israeli troops carry out maintenance and exposure works near the Blue Line between Israel and Lebanon, close to Misgav in northern Israel, June 12, 2023. (Ayal Margolin/Flash90)

The Israeli military said Thursday it discovered a concrete structure being built on its side of the unofficial border with Lebanon, which was subsequently dismantled by the Lebanese Army.

The incident was the latest to test the permeability of the so-called Blue Line, the ceasefire line that forms the de facto border between the countries, raising tensions between the Israel Defense Forces and the Hezbollah terror group.

In a statement, the IDF said the structure was found on Wednesday “during activity to clear terrain and regulate the area of the Blue Line.” The IDF regularly clears foliage and carries out earthworks along a fence it maintains on the frontier.

The concrete structure was 2-4 meters into Israeli territory, near the northern town of Shtula, according to a military source.

It was unclear what the purpose of the structure was, but in recent years, the Lebanese Hezbollah terror group has been accused of establishing dozens of observation posts along the border.

The IDF said it worked with the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon, or UNIFIL, to have the structure removed.

On Wednesday afternoon, the structure was dismantled by the Lebanese Army, the IDF said.

Israel and Lebanon largely abide by the UN-recognized 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.

The incident comes amid heightened tensions in Israel’s north, 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.

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

The Iran-backed Hezbollah originally erected two tents in the contested Mount Dov area on the border, but later took one down, while threatening to attack if Israel moves to dismantle the other one.

The tent has remained in Israeli territory since early June at least.

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.

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