Photo Credit: Doron Horowitz/FLASH90
IDF armored vehicle patrols along the Lebanon-Israeli ‘blue line’ border, November 10, 2016.

The IDF recognizes Hezbollah’s lack of control over its people in the southern region, with the number of incidents at the Lebanon-Israel border gradually increasing, Israel Hayom reported late Monday night. It is not clear whether the 420% rise in incidents along the border in recent months is the terrorist group’s operational policy or the result of local Hezbollah members seeking confrontations with Israel. In other words, is Hassan Nasrallah still controlling his people in the south?

Last month, bulldozers of the IDF Northern Command crossed the border fence to dig up secure positions for Israeli tanks along the blue line marking the border. The operation’s stated goal was to better protect against attacks from the Hamames ridge overlooking the Israeli town of Metula. In reality, the army wanted to make it clear to the other side that Israel exercises its sovereignty along the border to the max.

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During the works, Hezbollah operatives showed up to closely monitor the activities and stood facing IDF soldiers with only a few yards and an imaginary border line separating them. Each of the parties made sure not to cross the line.

The blue line was set up on May 24, 2000, by the United Nations, in cooperation with the State of Israel, to mark the “line of withdrawal of IDF forces” following the order of Prime Minister Ehud Barak pulling the IDF from Lebanon after 18 years of fighting there. UN soldiers marked the border using light blue barrels (the color of the UN flag), giving the line its name, the “blue line.”

Hizballah operatives openly come almost every day to closely monitor the activities of the IDF along the border. The operatives carry out paramilitary activities, such as opening roads by car and on foot and sending out patrols along the border. They are usually armed only with cameras and record events across the border, but according to an Israeli security official who spoke to Israel Hayom, “Usually they hide their weapons on their persons, although we often see the operatives holding guns in their hands.”

A few months ago, dozens of Hezbollah activists conducted a learning tour and a demonstration of their presence, hiking from the village of Kila to the UN post east of Metula. They were operatives of Hezbollah’s elite Radwan Force, clearly not the bureaucrats who usually represent the group in the south.

The same security official told Israel Hayom that “in recent months, there has been a 420% increase in the number of friction incidents at the fence since Hezbollah is losing control over its people near the border.” According to him, rogue operatives have been observed pushing rocks down to hit the fence, trying to damage it and create confrontations with the IDF.

Hezbollah has set up dozens of posts along the border, and those are not manned by agents who necessarily follow orders from Beirut. The IDF is concerned that the actions of these individual activists would lead to heating up the border.

The poor Lebanese economy has created another dangerous phenomenon along the border with Israel: Lebanese villagers are out hunting for food and shots can be heard frequently in Metula from the area behind the ridge.

In the past few months, Metula residents have faced repeated harassment from the Hamames ridge on the Lebanese side, as local Arabs have been blinding them with laser rays. A simple solution was found eventually – a giant searchlight was inside the town that illuminates the observation post and blinds the Lebanese over there. Problem solved.

Meanwhile, smuggling attempts from Lebanon are increasing, as Israeli criminals join the terrorists in smuggling illegal weapons into Israel.

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David writes news at JewishPress.com.