Israeli who crossed over to Lebanon is returned through Rosh Hanikra Crossing

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

An Israeli civilian is returned to Israel through the rarely used Rosh Hanikra Crossing after he walked into Lebanon earlier this month, the Israel Defense Forces says.

“This was a very sensitive issue,” IDF Spokesperson Ran Kochav says.

The man, an Arab Israeli youth in his 20s from a Bedouin village in the Negev, crossed into Lebanon in the beginning of the month, Kochav said, but refused to specify on what date or where he crossed the border. It is not immediately clear why he crossed into Lebanon, though the IDF says he appears to have done so “willingly and knowingly.”

The man, whose name has not been released, allegedly has a history of mental health issues, as well as a criminal record.

An Israeli soldier opens the gates of the Rosh Hanikra border crossing between Israel and Lebanon in northern Israel, on October 14, 2020. (Ariel Schalit/AP)

According to Kochav, the man was detained in Lebanon for several weeks as Israeli officials from different government offices worked to get him returned. He was sent back to Israel through Rosh Hanikra Crossing moments ago with the United Nations peacekeeping force UNIFIL.

Upon his return to Israel, he was handed over to the Shin Bet security service for questioning.

Many details about the case remain classified.

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