Israeli civilian arrested after crossing into Lebanon

IDF says it is holding talks via intermediaries for his release; Lebanese media says he climbed over fence near village of Aramsha

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

The border fence between Lebanon and Israel as seen from the Arab village of Ghajar, in northern Israel, September 7, 2022. (Michael Giladi/Flash90)
The border fence between Lebanon and Israel as seen from the Arab village of Ghajar, in northern Israel, September 7, 2022. (Michael Giladi/Flash90)

An Israeli civilian crossed the border into Lebanon on Monday morning, the Israeli military confirmed after Lebanese media said the man was arrested by local security services.

The Lebanon 24 news site said the man climbed over Israel’s border fence near the Lebanese village of Zhayra, across the border from the Bedouin Israeli village of Aramsha.

The report said the man was being questioned by the Lebanese Military Intelligence.

The Kan public broadcaster, citing a report by the Lebanese al-Jadeed TV station, said the man is an Arab Israeli in his 30s.

The Israeli Defense Forces said it was holding talks for his release with the Lebanese side via intermediaries, as the two countries technically remain at war.

“Talks are currently being held through coordination and liaison channels,” the IDF said, apparently referring to the peacekeeping United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL).

In 2021, an Arab Israeli youth in his 20s from a Bedouin village in the Negev crossed into Lebanon. He was returned about a month later.

The border with Lebanon has been especially tense in recent weeks, with the Hezbollah terror group establishing new tall observation posts as the IDF ramps up the construction of a defensive wall.

United Nation peacekeepers have also broken up several standoffs between Israeli and Lebanese forces along the border, after the latter complained that Israeli engineering work crossed over the demarcation line.

The peacekeeping force has been in Lebanon since 1978. Composed of nearly 10,000 soldiers, it is deployed in the south of the country — a stronghold of Hezbollah — to maintain a buffer between it and Israel.

The terror group has long been the IDF’s most significant adversary on Israel’s borders, with an estimated arsenal of nearly 150,000 rockets and missiles that can reach anywhere in Israel.

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