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Latest intruder had suit in his backpack, for job interviews

Satisfied Sudan migrant inspires new attempts to cross into Israel from Lebanon

January border infiltrator was allowed to stay, and has been posting on social media about jobs available in Israel as Lebanese financial crisis worsens, TV report says

Illustrative: Sudanese demonstrate in support of their people in South Tel Aviv, June 30, 2019. (Tomer Neuberg/Flash90)
Illustrative: Sudanese demonstrate in support of their people in South Tel Aviv, June 30, 2019. (Tomer Neuberg/Flash90)

A Sudanese migrant detained by Israeli troops after he crossed into Israel from southern Lebanon on Wednesday morning had something unusual in his backpack — a suit to wear for job interviews.

The IDF, on constant alert for attempts by the Hezbollah terror group to breach the border, has, in recent months, had to also deal with a spate of attempts by African  migrants attempting to cross the frontier.

The migrants appear to be coming to the Jewish state in search of work in light of the ongoing Lebanese economic crisis, which has left many of the country’s foreign workers unemployed or underpaid.

And they have been encouraged by the success story of the first Sudanese migrant to breach the border in January, Channel 12 news reported.

Detained by troops, the man was interrogated by the Shin Bet security service and after it determed that he had no plans to carry out terror attacks, was released and allowed to stay in Israel.

Military sources told the network that he then went to Tel Aviv where he found a job washing dishes. He has since been posting on social media about how good it is in Israel, where there is lots of work.

This has reportedly led to the uptick in attempts to cross the border.

Last month, Israeli troops apprehended three such individuals caught trying to cross from Lebanon into Israel, the IDF said at the time.

In a bid to deter further attempts, the man arrested on Wednesday was returned to Lebanon, the report said.

IDF troops detain a Sudanese migrant who crossed into Israel from Lebanon on June 17 2020 (Screencapture/ Channel 12)

Lebanon’s unprecedented foreign currency crisis means that many migrants have not been paid for months while some salaries was cut by more than half. Others have lost their jobs after employers dumped them on the streets or outside their home country’s embassies.

“We are invisible,” Banchi Yimer, an Ethiopian former domestic worker who founded a group that campaigns for domestic workers’ rights in Lebanon, told the AP. “We don’t even exist for our governments, not just the Lebanese government.”

An Ethiopian domestic worker cries as she waits with dozens of others outside the Ethiopian consulate, some inquiring about flights home, others stranded after they were abandoned by employers who claimed they could no longer afford to pay their salaries in Beirut, Lebanon, on June 4, 2020. (AP Photo/Hassan Ammar)

The coronavirus pandemic has set back a Lebanese economy already devastated by a financial crisis brought on by decades of corruption and mismanagement. In recent months, the Lebanese pound, pegged to the dollar for more than two decades, has lost 60% of its value against the dollar and prices of basic goods soared. Unemployment has risen to 35% and an estimated 45% of the country’s population is now below the poverty line.

In light of this ongoing crisis, some migrant workers have sought employment in Israel, one of two countries with which Lebanon shares a land border, the other being war-torn Syria.

The military has warned of growing instability on the frontier with a rise in smuggling efforts — both guns and drugs — in recent months, along with migrant workers crossing the border. The IDF says there have also been cases of Hezbollah using local shepherds in southern Lebanon to perform reconnaissance along the border.

Israel has fought two wars in Lebanon, one in 1982 against Palestinian terrorists and one in 2006 against the Lebanese Hezbollah, as well as numerous operations against terror groups in the country.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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