Israeli forces continued a manhunt Monday for two men who remained at large after infiltrating from Lebanon the day before, causing locals living close to the border to express their concerns over the potential implications.
IDF troops on Sunday night found tracks of two people who had crossed into Israel near the Western Galilee town of Shlomi and deployed a large number of forces to the scene.
The search around Shlomi included hundreds of members of the security forces, who were searching for infiltrators the IDF believed were migrant workers and not terrorists.
Soldiers used flares to light up the night sky and IAF helicopters were also deployed in the area while local residents were instructed to remain in their homes for hours.
Residents of the area said that they were concerned that the Lebanon-based Hezbollah terror group had dispatched the infiltrators in an attempt to spot weaknesses in the military defenses at the frontier.
A resident of Kibbutz Hanita, which is close to the Israel-Lebanon border, told Ynet he believed the Iran-backed terror group was studying the response to the infiltration to see how forces were deployed in the area.
"This will cost us in blood," he said.
Shlomi Mayor Gabi Neeman on Monday demanded the completion of a security wall along the border whose construction was delayed for budgetary considerations.
"With just dozens of meters separating Israeli communities from Lebanon, the current border fence is not enough," Neeman said.
"There must be a security fence and warning sensors to deter" would-be infiltrators, the mayor said.
He also called for Sunday's incident to be thoroughly investigated. "People's lives are at stake," he said.
Neeman said he had spoken to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Defense Minister Benny Gantz and IDF officials following an incident last July in which a Sudanese migrant worker crossed the border from Lebanon and entered Shlomi, where he remained undetected for a number of days.
He said he had received assurances that the border fence would be completed, but there have been no developments since then.
The IDF had been treating any infiltration from Lebanon as an act of terror, including those in which it later emerged that migrant workers or unarmed shepherds had breached the border.
The fact that the infiltrators remained at large on Monday was seen by the residents of the area as a failure on the part of the military.
The IDF said its forces have been conducting widespread searches to follow the tracks that showed two people had breached the border and that police officers were assisting in the search.
"Our forces are deployed to protect local residents and from our investigation we can deduce that the breach was not motivated by terrorism. Residents were told to resume their normal activities," the army said.