IDF: Security incident on Lebanese border; residents told to stay home for hours

Military launches flares into sky near Manara after troops reportedly hear gunfire near security fence, roadblocks set up along border roads amid infiltration fears

Judah Ari Gross is The Times of Israel's military correspondent.

Illustrative: The Israeli military fires flares into the sky over the Lebanese border on August 25, 2020. (Courtesy)
Illustrative: The Israeli military fires flares into the sky over the Lebanese border on August 25, 2020. (Courtesy)

The Israeli military reported an unspecified “security incident” along the Lebanese border on Tuesday night, ordering residents of the surrounding area to remain in their homes. (Update: Restrictions were lifted on Wednesday morning.)

The Israel Defense Forces fired flares into the sky around the northern Galilee, near the community of Manara, as the military searched the area to ensure that no one had breached the border after troops reportedly heard gunshots at an outpost along the frontier.

Lebanese media reported that large numbers of Israeli aircraft were flying over the border area.

Residents of the communities of Manara, Yiftach, Margaliot, Misgav Am and Malkia were all ordered to stay inside and to be prepared to enter a bomb shelter or other protected area at a moment’s notice and to remain there for 10 minutes.

The military said it was setting up roadblocks on a number of highways in the area.

“Please continue to receive updates on the instructions that are being released to the media and to listen to the orders of security forces and the IDF troops operating in the area,” the military told residents.

Lebanese media reported that a number of flares fired by the Israeli military sparked small fires near the border. Several unexploded pyrotechnic shells also landed inside Lebanese communities along the border. No injuries were reported.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who was on vacation with his family in nearby Safed, received security briefings from the military about the incident, his office said.

The unspecified security incident came amid lingering tensions along the Lebanese border, after the Hezbollah terror group vowed to avenge one of its fighters who was killed outside Damascus in an airstrike on July 20 attributed to Israel.

After initially bracing for retaliation by Hezbollah with additional troops deployed along the border, the IDF began scaling down its reinforcements following the massive explosion at the Beirut Port earlier this month. The military believed that the terror group — a major powerbroker in Lebanese politics — would focus its intentions on Lebanon’s domestic issues rather than carry out its revenge on Israel, though Hezbollah maintained that its retaliation was still to come.

Tuesday night’s “security incident” also came exactly one year after the IDF killed two Hezbollah members in an airstrike on an Iran-controlled facility in Syria that the military said was used to launch attacks on Israel with explosives-laden drones.

In response to the deaths of the two Hezbollah operatives, the terror group conducted an anti-tank guided missile attack on Israeli military targets a week later. One missile narrowly missed an IDF armored ambulance with five soldiers inside.

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