An unnamed Lebanese security official told the Hezbollah-affiliated Al–Manar TV network Wednesday afternoon that the Lebanese army detained a 34-year-old Israeli citizen who had infiltrated into the country.
Al-Manar quoted a Lebanese security source as saying that the Israeli man has been identified as Simon Saadati of Ramla. According to the report, he jumped over the border fence near Rosh Hanikra.
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A woman who identified herself as Simon's mother said he was mentally ill and ran away from home a number of times in the past. "He has 100% disability," she told Ynet, adding that she had last seen him Monday afternoon. "He went out for a walk, like he usually does, but he never came back," said the mother. The family did not report him missing to the police.
A number of websites reported that in September Saadati went missing during a visit to Uman, Ukraine. He was found safe and sound a few days later.
Lebanese television channel Al Mayadeen, which is also affiliated with the Hezbollah terror group, reported that Lebanese intelligence personnel were interrogating Saadati in the presence of a UNIFIL official in the city of Tyre.
Al Mayadeen reported that the Israeli national was being interrogated in Hebrew, adding that he had undergone a psychological test.
Reportedly there are talks between the Lebanese military and UNIFIL regarding the man's return to Israel. Al Mayadeen added that the Lebanese military regards the infiltration as a violation of UN Resolution 1701.
UNIFIL troops in south Lebanon (Archive photo: Avihu Shapira)
A similar incident occurred in August 2009, when a mentally ill youngster infiltrated crossed the border and was apprehended by the Lebanese army. He was returned a few days later through the Rosh Hanikra Crossing by UNIFIL forces and was transferred to police custody.
Earlier Wednesday, the Lebanese newspaper Daily Star reported that a gradual drawdown in Lebanese troop numbers in south Lebanon has led to a recent increase in standoffs between UNIFIL and suspected members of Hezbollah.
UNIFIL patrols are finding paths blocked and former temporary observation points suddenly out of bounds in what is being interpreted as Hezbollah seeking to flex its muscles on the ground at a time of "heightened regional uncertainty and aggressive postures by Israel," according to the report.
The Daily Star said UNIFIL officers are privately expressing frustration at the often humiliating confrontations with Hezbollah personnel, in which the peacekeepers feel "compelled to back down."
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