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Lebanese man nabbed by troops after crossing border into Israel

Video shows unarmed man apprehended by soldiers near homes in Metulla; motive unclear but economic crisis thought to be behind desperate moves of past suspects

IDF soldiers arrest a Lebanese civilian near Metula after he illegally crossed into Israel on October 29, 2021. (Screen capture/YouTube)
IDF soldiers arrest a Lebanese civilian near Metula after he illegally crossed into Israel on October 29, 2021. (Screen capture/YouTube)

Israeli troops detained an unarmed Lebanese man who crossed the northern border into an Israeli town near the frontier on Friday night, the military said.

The suspect was apprehended by troops in a residential area of Metulla, which is located just steps from the border in some areas.

The army said he was initially spotted by soldiers monitoring security cameras after he managed to get through the security fence on the Blue Line, the ceasefire line between Israel and Lebanon that acts as a de facto border.

Soldiers were dispatched to the scene to search for him, shooting flares over the border town to light up the night, the IDF said in a statement.

A video appeared to show troops ordering the man out from behind a large square box he was seemingly hiding behind, and then tackling him as he emerged with his hands up.

The suspect was transferred for interrogation, the army said.

The suspect’s motive was not clear, though an increasing number of Lebanese civilians have sought refuge in Israel as their country plunges further and further into economic crisis. Those who have managed to make it into Israeli territory have been sent back to Lebanon after questioning.

Last month, a Lebanese national who was detained by the IDF after managing to cross the border into Israel was returned to Lebanon on Friday without incident.

On Monday, Israel said it opened its border to agricultural workers from neighboring Lebanon, with which it is technically at war, to pick olives.

“In light of the economic situation in Lebanon, and as a gesture of goodwill to the Lebanese people, the IDF opened the border to agricultural workers from Al Jabal, Itaron and Balida,” an IDF statement read.

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