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UNIFIL soldiers break up ‘short standoff’ between IDF and Lebanese troops

Incident takes place south of Blue Line, but in area contested by Beirut; troops photographed with rifles pointed at one another and peace-keeping force in between

Vehicles belonging to UN peacekeepers drive along a road along the Israel-Lebanon border near the southern Lebanese town of Kfar Kila on September 1, 2019. (Ali Dia/AFP)
Vehicles belonging to UN peacekeepers drive along a road along the Israel-Lebanon border near the southern Lebanese town of Kfar Kila on September 1, 2019. (Ali Dia/AFP)

The United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon on Tuesday broke up a “short standoff” between Israeli and Lebanese troops south of the Blue Line border demarcation between the two countries.

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, Lebanon deems the area to be contested.

“Tension increased. Our troops were in the middle with the aim of preventing misunderstandings and decreasing tension,” Tenenti said. “Shortly after the situation went back to normal.”

A photo from the scene showed Israeli and Lebanese troops with their weapons drawn at one another.

The Israel Defense Forces did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Israel’s northern border has been quiet in recent weeks as both Israel and Lebanon battle the coronavirus pandemic.

The Lebanon-based Hezbollah terror group was blamed for contributing to the virus spread in Lebanon by holding up a stop to flights into the country last month. The Iranian-backed terror group stepped up its efforts to combat the virus in response.

The UN on Saturday pleaded for warring parties in the Middle East to cease hostilities amid the pandemic.

The UN envoys for Syria, Yemen, Lebanon, Iraq and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict stressed that solidarity is required to face the challenge of COVID-19 and this cannot happen “if the guns of war and conflict are not silenced.”

They also urged all feuding parties “to reach out across conflict lines and cooperate locally, regionally and globally to stop the rapid spread of the virus,” and to allow access for humanitarian aid and “humanitarian releases.”

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