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High alert on northern border (Archive photo) Photo: Avihu Shapira
High alert on northern border (Archive photo) Photo: Avihu Shapira
 
Forces deployed along border (Archive photo) Photo: AP
Forces deployed along border (Archive photo) Photo: AP
 
Farmers stay at home (Archive photo) Photo: Shaul Golan
Farmers stay at home (Archive photo) Photo: Shaul Golan
 
 

IDF on high alert in north

Farmers working near border fence forbidden to go to work Monday due to fear of terror attacks, kidnappings by Hizbullah; army expected to maintain high alert until after elections

Hagai Einav
Published: 03.13.06, 12:04 / Israel News

The IDF's alert level along the northern border reached a high Monday morning for fear of escalation on the part of Hizbullah. Farmers working near the border fence were forbidden to leave for work for fear of confrontations with the terror organization's members stationed not far from the fence.

 

Four road sections along the border with Lebanon were closed to traffic by the army and police.

 

The decision to raise the alert level of security forces deployed along the border was made at the end of a meeting between security and intelligence officials at the Northern Command.

 

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A large number of security vehicles patrolled the closed road sections Monday. However, residents of the northern communities continued to live their lives as usual.

 

The high alert is expected to be maintained until Election Day, in about two weeks. Senior army officials expressed their fear that Hizbullah, supported by Syria or Iran, would try to escalate the situation at the border.

 

There is currently a large number of security warnings on the terror organization's attempts to kidnap soldiers stationed along the border, as well as to fire toward the posts.

 

Security coordinators at the communities bordering the fence have already been briefed on how their communities should function in case of an infiltration attempt or fire from Lebanon.

 

'Beirut responsible for any escalation'

 

Four years have passed since the terror attack at the Metzuba junction in the western Galilee, in which five civilians and one soldier were killed. Two terrorist had crossed the border fence from Lebanon to Israel near Kibbutz Hanita using a ladder. They stood on a hill overlooking the Kibbutz Metzuba junction and opened fire at vehicles.

 

The terrorist were killed following a difficult battle against IDF soldiers who were deployed to the area.

 

Since the incident, the army has boosted its use of technological means along the border fence, as well as motorized and infantry patrols of the area in an attempt to prevent a recurrence of similar infiltration incidents.

 

"The Lebanese government must understand that any attempt to hurt IDF soldiers are Israeli citizens touring or living near the border would be appropriately retaliated by us. The responsibility for any escalation lies with the Beirut government, which has to understand that it is time to apply its sovereignty also on the south of the state," an IDF officer said.

 

An army source added that "Israeli residents can come and safely spend time at the north, and we on our part will provide them, as well as the residents living along the border, with the possibility to maintain a routine life and spend time at one of the most beautiful geographical regions we have been blessed with."

 

Guest houses in the north are expected to be fully occupied during the weekend, and tour operators hope that the security situation will remain stable ahead of Passover and throughout the holiday.

 

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