Lebanese army to deploy tanks, reinforcements along border

Lebanon’s national media agency said the IDF had crossed the border fence and that the Lebanese army will be deployed in response.

By Ilanit Chernick, TPS

The Lebanese Army said it will deploy tanks and reinforcements onto the country’s border, Lebanon’s National Media Agency reported on Sunday morning.

The agency claimed that Israeli “enemy forces” had crossed the border fence into the area of ​​the Lebanese village of Miss al-Jebel while working “in the enclave” as it neutralized tunnels. It also reported that Lebanese Army reinforcements, including tanks, will be deployed in response.

This comes after the deployment of 40 IDF soldiers into the enclave after IDF soldiers opened fire at three suspected Hezbollah operatives on Saturday afternoon who tried to approach the area where IDF units are neutralizing Hezbollah tunnels on the Israel-Lebanon border.

This is first incident on the border since Operation Northern Shield began on Tuesday in which the IDF announced it had found Hezbollah attack tunnels infringing into Israeli territory from Lebanon, and committed to finding and neutralizing further attack tunnels.

It’s believed there are at least a dozen attack tunnels dug by Hezbollah.

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Meanwhile, late on Saturday there were also reports that two MAG machine guns, allegedly left unattended by troops, were stolen in the border area where soldiers had been working on neutralizing tunnels. The IDF said an investigation has been launched.

Earlier in the day, IDF forces exposed a second attack tunnel dug by Hezbollah from Lebanon into Israel, as Operation Northern Shield entered its seventh day.

“Hezbollah planned to use this tunnel to carry out an attack against Israeli civilians. We won’t let them,” the IDF said. “We have placed explosives inside the tunnel. Anyone who enters the tunnel does so at their own risk.”

Following the discovery of the tunnel, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said that the IDF is “systematically and decisively eliminating Hezbollah’s tunnels weapon.

“This operation is just beginning; equanimity and patience are required. We will continue to work until it is completed; this is what we will do,” he added.

Hezbollah has not yet reacted to the military operation. Hassan Nasrallah’s deputy, Naim Qassem, interviewed by Iranian news outlet Al-Wefak over the weekend, did not directly address the issue of the tunnels and Operation Northern Shield. However, he did warn that “all of Israel is exposed, including Tel Aviv,” to Hezbollah rockets.

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Intelligence Minister Israel Katz, a member of Israel’s security cabinet, said on Friday that Israel may consider military action in southern Lebanese territory if necessary.

“If we think that in order to prevent these tunnels one needs to operate on the other side – then we will operate on the other side of the border,” Katz told Radio Tel Aviv 102FM.