The IDF on Wednesday morning stopped a Sudanese infiltrator who crossed the border with Lebanon in the north, in the area of the settlement of Shlomi. According to the IDF, this was not a terrorist infiltration.
In recent weeks, Israel has seen an increase in the attempts to infiltrate its territory from Lebanon, as well as the proliferation of incidents on the Lebanese border between the IDF and joint Hezbollah and Lebanese army forces, some of them security-related but others related to immigration.
For example, on May 19, IDF soldiers arrested two Sudanese suspects who cut the border fence and crossed into Israel. The IDF stated at the time that these were “probably job seekers.” A day later, four Sudanese were arrested by the Lebanese in Lebanon before crossing the border in the area of the village of Aalma El Chaeb. About three weeks earlier, on April 17, IDF forces arrested five Sudanese who had climbed the fence and were returned to Lebanon, following a number of deliberate damages to the fence at various points along the border.
Makor Rishon reported a few weeks ago that the IDF says “once every two days a squad of infiltrators is caught trying to smuggle the border, and there have been several dozen smuggling attempts.”
Attorney Jonathan Yakobovich, director of the Israeli Immigration Policy Center, warned in a May interview in MIda (גל הסתננות חדש מצפון? ישראל חזרה להיות יעד מושך לסודנים) that “Israel is back to being an attractive target for Sudanese infiltrators for the first time since 2016.”
Yakobovich explained: “We see here an almost exact repetition of the steps that took place at the beginning of the 2010 wave of infiltration from Egypt. If some have managed to sneak through a secure border like the one with Lebanon, then surely they can also come from other places by land, as happens on the Jordanian border, which can be crossed relatively easily, and even by sea.”
“We have seen in recent years that if migrants want to cross the Mediterranean in boats there is nothing to stop them,” he noted. “There are elaborate smuggling networks in Africa today, and it is clear that no one in Israel is going to shoot a refugee boat coming to shore. We also see that there are people like the January infiltrator who just boarded a flight from Sudan to one of the neighboring countries and from there he tried to enter Israel.”
“If he was able to do that, and today he is in the country, what will prevent hundreds and thousands of others from trying to cross the Lebanese border or other borders as well? I’m very worried,” Yakobovich said.