UNIFIL Says Situation Calm as Israeli Troops Cross Border Fenceإقرأ هذا الخبر بالعربية
The U.N. Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) reassured Sunday that the situation on the southern border is calm after Israeli drilling outside the border fence stoked the already heightened tensions in the area.
The tensions surged after dozens of Israeli troops and a Poclain excavator crossed the electronic border fence and started drilling works near the U.N.-demarcated Blue Line.
The move prompted the Lebanese Army and UNIFIL peacekeepers to go on alert in the area.
The National News Agency said the Israeli excavator erected a sand barrier around 20 meters away from the Blue Line as Israeli troops deployed behind it and a surveillance balloon hovered over the Kroum al-Sharraqi area.
The Israeli army also brought dozens of military vehicles and Merkava tanks to a military route behind the border as an MK drone overflew the tense area.
The Israeli troops deployed “very close” to Lebanese soldiers on the opposite side of the border, the Lebanese National News Agency said.
Israeli forces also put blue marks on some rocks near the Blue Line and extended a black cable on the ground.
“UNIFIL forces intercepted them when they tried to install a barbed wire in a disputed area,” NNA said.
The Lebanese Army meanwhile reinforced its positions in the area and brought vehicles carrying 106mm guns to the border town of Mays al-Jabal.
UNIFIL spokesman Andrea Tenenti said the situation remains calm and that no Blue Line violation was recorded, reassuring that U.N. peacekeepers are present on the ground to monitor the situation and preserve stability.
“They are working in coordination with the Lebanese Armed Forces and the Mission’s command is engaged with the parties to maintain stability,” NNA quoted him as saying.
The Israeli army said Tuesday that it had launched an operation to “neutralize” suspected “attack tunnels” allegedly dug by Hizbullah across the frontier.
It said its activities will remain confined to Israeli territory but Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu have warned that the military “may have to operate inside Lebanon.”