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IDF troops fire warning shots as suspects approach Lebanon border

Both suspects flee the scene; in unrelated incident, man crosses from Israel into Lebanon

Lebanese soldiers and UNIFIL peacekeepers watch from the southern Lebanese village of Adaisseh, as IDF Merkava tanks take part in routine maneuvers near the border demarcation line, near Kibbutz Misgav Am, on June 2, 2020. (Jalaa Marey/AFP)
Lebanese soldiers and UNIFIL peacekeepers watch from the southern Lebanese village of Adaisseh, as IDF Merkava tanks take part in routine maneuvers near the border demarcation line, near Kibbutz Misgav Am, on June 2, 2020. (Jalaa Marey/AFP)

Israeli soldiers fired shots in the air to warn off two suspects who approached the border from Lebanon, the military said on Sunday night.

“Israeli soldiers executed arrest procedures, including shooting in the air, when they identified two suspicious persons approaching the border fence with Lebanon. After the shooting, the suspects left the scene,” the Israel Defense Forces said in a statement.

In an apparently unrelated incident earlier in the day, the Lebanese Armed Forces announced that a Palestinian man was apprehended after crossing into Lebanon from Israel.

“An Intelligence Directorate patrol detained a Palestinian man outside of the village of Dahira, after he crossed the technical fence from inside occupied Palestinian lands,” the Lebanese Armed Forces said in a terse statement.

The IDF later confirmed that a man “with a criminal background” had crossed the border.

A picture taken from the southern Lebanese border town of Kfar Kila shows an Israeli military vehicle in Metullah on the Israeli side on January 3, 2020. (Ali Dia/AFP)

While infiltration attempts occur occasionally from Lebanon into Israel, such movement in the opposite direction appears to be less common. The person who made the crossing has yet to be identified. It was not immediately clear whether the suspect was a West Bank Palestinian or an Arab citizen of Israel, or what he was doing in Lebanon.

The suspect has been transferred to “the appropriate judicial authority” for interrogation, the LAF said.

Israeli troops on the northern border have been on high alert since a Hezbollah fighter was killed in July during an airstrike on Damascus International Airport. The strike was widely attributed to Israel, and the Iran-backed terror group has vowed retaliation.

A week after the strike, a cell of Hezbollah operatives crossed the border on the contentious Mount Dov, but was turned back with warning strikes after entering Israeli territory. In late August, shots were fired at Israeli troops near the community of Manara, but missed them.

The IDF held a drill last month simulating a war on multiple fronts, including in the north against Hezbollah, which the military generally considers its chief foe.

Several other suspected infiltration attempts from Lebanon into Israel took place over the course of the past summer; no Israelis were injured in the operations.

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