Photo Credit: IDF Spokesperson's Unit
The Rosh Hanikra border crossing.

Two IDF tanks and Israeli soldiers engaged in a rare confrontation Tuesday with armed Lebanese troops while operating along the northern border near the Jewish community of Kibbutz Misgav Am, in a Lebanese area south of the town of al-Adisa.

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For the first time since the 2006 Second Lebanon War, the tanks crossed the border security fence and moved towards Lebanon, but remained on the Israeli side of the so-called “Blue Line” — an internationally recognized border, albeit one that is unofficial. Israel’s Kan public broadcasting network’s Hebrew-language military correspondent Rubi Hammerschlag reported from the border that Lebanese troops were positioned very close to the tanks, including one aiming an RPG (rocket-propelled grenade) directly at one of the tanks, but did not engage.

The confrontation came after a suspected infiltrator crossed the security fence along Israel’s northern border with Lebanon near Mount Dov, also known as Sheba’a Farms. He was returned Tuesday to the International Red Cross in Lebanon via the Rosh Hanikra border crossing, according to the IDF Spokesperson.

The suspect was wounded by IDF gunfire; he received medical treatment at a hospital in Haifa and was released after he was questioned by security personnel. “The IDF strongly opposes any attempt to violate Israeli sovereignty,” the IDF Spokesperson said.

The infiltrator was allegedly a shepherd of Syrian ancestry. According to a local source he was taken to Rafik al-Hariri Hospital in Beirut to continue treatment.

There have been a number of attempts at infiltrating Israel’s northern border from Lebanon, according to IDF Arabic-language Spokesperson Avichai Adra’ee, who said the military is increasing operations along the border with the aim of deterring anyone who might have thoughts of “trying to intentionally or unintentionally infiltrate into Israel.”

Adra’ee said smugglers, job seekers and shepherds are among those who might attempt to find a way into Israel, but there are also others who have been crossing the blue line while carrying “communication devices and other items.”

He called on the Lebanese government and UNIFIL forces in the region to prevent these infiltration attempts and to impose control over the area. “We will not accept infiltration operations out of Lebanon and will act as necessary to prevent and deter those who try to infiltrate,” Adra’ee said.

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