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.
Per Beirut press, Israelis crossed into disputed territory today, set up tent, departed 4h later. Israeli jets/drones carrying intense activity over Lebanon past 48h.
Powder keg. pic.twitter.com/V2yJ76jx6o
— Firas Maksad (@FirasMaksad) April 14, 2020
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.”