Two Sudanese nationals caught trying to enter Israel from Lebanon

Army arrests unarmed men, says they ‘appear to be work seekers’; incident comes two weeks after five Sudanese migrants crossed border, were returned to Lebanon

Illustrative: An Israeli patrol along the Lebanon/Israel border fence near Rosh Hanikra, on November 10, 2016. (Doron Horowitz/Flash90)
Illustrative: An Israeli patrol along the Lebanon/Israel border fence near Rosh Hanikra, on November 10, 2016. (Doron Horowitz/Flash90)

Two men were caught attempting to sneak into Israel from Lebanon on Tuesday evening, the Israeli army said.

“The suspects were identified immediately and located quickly,” a statement from the IDF Spokesperson’s Unit said, suggesting that their crossing triggered sensors at the border.

“They appear to be work seekers,” the army said.

The two were reportedly Sudanese nationals.

Hebrew media reports said they crossed the border near Dovev, an Israeli village north of Safed that lies just across the border from the Lebanese village of Yaroun.

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)

They were unarmed and have been taken for questioning by the army.

In early May, IDF troops detained five Sudanese migrants who tried to cross into the country from Lebanon. The men were sent back to Lebanon, the IDF spokesperson said.

Lebanon is in the middle of a massive economic crisis, made worse by coronavirus restrictions.

On Sunday, Israeli troops shot a man who crossed the border for as-yet unknown reasons. The army said the suspect was flown to hospital to be treated for his injuries.

It said the suspect crossed into Israel near Mount Dov, also known as Shebaa Farms, a contested area along the border that is claimed by Israel, Lebanon and Syria.

The Hezbollah-affiliated al-Manar news outlet claimed the man was a shepherd with Syrian citizenship, walking his flock through the area.

“The event is being investigated,” the IDF said.

Last month, Hezbollah operatives allegedly vandalized portions of the security fence separating Israel from Lebanon.

Also last month, IDF troops and Lebanese army soldiers faced off near the border in a highly irregular incident, with photos from the scene showing the two sides raising weapons at each other and UN personnel standing in between. The incident took place between the southern Lebanese village of Adaisseh and the northern Israeli town of Metulla, UNIFIL spokesperson Andrea Tenenti told The Times of Israel, saying that while it was south of the Blue Line — the unofficial but widely recognized border between the two countries — Lebanon deems the area to be contested.

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