Army arrests five people who tried to cross the security fence into Israel along the tightly patrolled border with Lebanon.
By Paul Shindman, World Israel News
The Israeli army intercepted a group of apparently unarmed people Sunday who crossed the border from Lebanon into Israel.
“During the night, five suspects were identified by IDF forces as they tried to cross from Lebanese territory into Israeli territory. The suspects were apprehended as they attempted to cross the perimeter fence,” the IDF spokesperson’s office said.
In the past year individuals have tried on several occasions to cross into Israel and were arrested and returned to Lebanon, but this appears to be the first time the army has intercepted a group of people trying to enter Israel over the highly secured border.
The Lebanese El Siyasa News website reported the suspects were Sudanese nationals who tried to cross near the village of Ayta ash-Shaab, located on the Lebanese side of the border near the Israeli town of Shtula.
Tens of thousands of illegal migrants currently live in Israel, most of them having infiltrated from Africa across the Egyptian border before the completion of a security fence. Smugglers had made a big business of moving thousands of migrants annually across the border, primarily from Sudan and Eritrea, before the fence cut the flow to near zero.
The Israeli government has been seeking solutions to either move the migrants to other countries or repatriate them to Africa.
The border with Lebanon is normally the scene of tension with the Iran-backed Hezbollah, which has tried to take over Lebanon and continuously threatens Israel with military attacks.
In April, Israel accused the Hezbollah terror group in Lebanon of cutting several holes in the security fence along the border and filed a complaint with the United Nations.
For years the government in Beirut has been wracked by corruption and political strife, with Hezbollah at the center. The country has been suffering from a long-running economic crisis that sparked massive protests as prices soared and the Lebanese currency lost value.
Lebanese journalist Lara Sakr tweeted that the five infiltrators must have been under pressure from the situation in Lebanon.
“God willing, the situation should not have reached them. They preferred to resort to Israel over living in this country,” Sakr said.