Journalists and photographers were briefed in advance of the intention to ambush IDF troops and were therefore present at the site of Tuesday's deadly clash between Israeli and Lebanese forces, IDF officials charge.
The lethal skirmish ensued after IDF forces performing routine operations in a border-area enclave came under Lebanese fire. The Israeli troops fired back, killing three Lebanese soldiers and a local journalist.
The killed correspondent, Assaf Abu Rahal, worked for Hezbollah-affiliated Beirut daily al-Akhbar.
Another journalist, Ali Shuaib from Hezbollah's al-Manar station, was wounded in the incident and was taken to hospital for treatment.
IDF officials raised questions about the presence of journalists and even broadcast trucks at the scene even before the clash ensued, charging this further reinforces suspicions that the incident was a well-planned Lebanese ambush.
"If this incident was not planned in advance, why did field commanders in the Lebanese army bother to dispatch journalists to the area and ensure that cameras were present at the site?" one IDF official said.
According to earlier reports, UNIFIL forces who toured the site of Tuesday's deadly exchanges of fire on the northern border said the IDF's activity did not warrant the attack launched by Lebanese Army soldiers, Israeli army officials who spoke to UNIFIL representatives said.
According to the IDF, soldiers were performing routine operations in a border-area enclave within Israeli territory when they were ambushed by Lebanese troops.
Yossi Yehoshua and Hanan Greenberg contributed to the report