Fifteen Lebanese crossed freely into Israeli territory shortly after noon Friday and raised Hizbullah and Lebanese flags before turning back after Israeli soldiers spotted them. No shots were fired because the civilians appeared to be unarmed and were mostly women and children, an IDF spokesman said.
The incident occurred less than three miles east of Rajar, a village in disputed territory located near Har Dov, on the western edge of the Hermon Mountain.
The Times of Oman claimed that the infiltrators were “protestors” who “briefly took over an unmanned Israeli observation post.” The IDF told Israel National News that the group of Lebanese reached an area where the army previously had placed several cement blocks that may have been occasionally used as a lookout point but were never an established post.
The Times also quoted a French news agency as saying that Israel had set up the alleged observation post earlier in the week. It added that three Israeli tanks arrived at the scene and that soldiers removed the flags. The IDF said it could not confirm or deny that tanks reached the area.
Israel said that the infiltration was a severe violation of United Nations Security Council Resolution 1701, which ended the Second Lebanon War three years ago.
In a separate incident, 14 soldiers of the United Nations Interim Forces (UNIFIL) were lightly wounded on Saturday when Lebanese in a village near the border prevented them from searching a suspected Hizbullah weapons depot that exploded earlier in the week. Several UNIFIL vehicles, including an ambulance, sustained damage.
Ammunition in an abandoned house approximately 12 miles north of the Israeli border exploded on Tuesday, in what UNIFIL said was a “serious violation” of Resolution 1701. The Kuwaiti newspaper A Siyassa reported that the explosion killed a number of Hizbullah terrorists and involved a secret outpost and not an abandoned building.
The newspaper said that weapons at the location included anti-tank missiles and anti-tank mines. The IDF on Wednesday released video footage showing an explosion in a house, in which there were several holes the size of Katyusha rockets.
Gabriella Shalev, Israeli Ambassador to the United Nations, formally complained to the U.N. that the explosions prove continued Hizbullah violations of the ceasefire resolution. She also charged that the Lebanese army helped prevent UNIFIL soldiers from entering the area until Hizbullah could remove evidence.
In addition to the two incidents, Hizbullah leader Hassan Nasrallah said in a televised speech on Friday that Israel is a “racist state.” He spoke one year after Israeli agreed to return to Lebanon child killer Samir Kuntar and several Hizbullah terrorists in return for the bodies of soldiers Ehud Goldwasser and Eldad Regev, who were kidnapped and killed at the outset of the Second Lebanon War.