כוחות צה"ל גבול לבנון
IDF tanks deployed along the Lebanon border
Photo: AP
IDF tanks deployed along the Lebanon border

An IDF balancing act on the Israel-Lebanon border

Reporter's Notebook: Israeli officers say army conducting sensitive work away from frontier area, aiming to thwart Hezbollah's efforts to obtain precision weapons, keep Iran from Syria entrenchment - and a border blowup could harm that operation

Yoav Zitun |
Published: 07.28.20 , 17:28
IDF troops along the Lebanon border remained on high alert Tuesday for the fifth day in a row and one day after an attempted infiltration across the frontier by militants from the Hezbollah terror group.
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  • Increased deployment of troops to the area has continued, but forces are positioning themselves further away from the border to avoid being targeted by Hezbollah fighters believed to still be in the Har Dov area, where Monday's infiltration occurred.
    כוחות צה"ל גבול לבנוןכוחות צה"ל גבול לבנון
    IDF tanks deployed along the Lebanon border
    (Photo: AP)
    In one incident observed from the Israeli side of the border, two Lebanese cars drove up to the security fence - which appeared deserted by IDF soldiers.
    Israeli civilians in homes and in a fruit packing plant meters away went on with their day unconcerned and the vehicles drove away after a couple of minutes.
    The event demonstrates the current IDF strategy to avoid confrontation. If there had been any threat from the occupants of the cars, who were under constant observation by forces, they would have been answered with fire.
    The Israel-Lebanon border, as seen from the southern Lebanese village of Adaisseh The Israel-Lebanon border, as seen from the southern Lebanese village of Adaisseh
    The Israel-Lebanon border, as seen from the southern Lebanese village of Adaisseh
    (Photo: AFP)
    But since they had shown no aggression, they were allowed to drive away untouched.
    Minutes later a patrol vehicle from the United Nations Interim Force In Lebanon (UNIFIL) arrived at the border as a chopper hovered overhead.
    IDF Armored Corps troops who have commandeered a playground in one of the communities close to the border remain on alert, although some had loosened their uniforms seeking some relief from the scorching summer heat.
    Lebanese soldiers on patrol drive by UN vehicles on the border with Israel, July 28, 2020 Lebanese soldiers on patrol drive by UN vehicles on the border with Israel, July 28, 2020
    Lebanese soldiers on patrol drive by UN vehicles on the border with Israel, July 28, 2020
    (Photo: AP)
    Military commanders said they were hoping to avoid any needless confrontations and as such were keeping their troops away from the security road that runs alongside the border.
    Hezbollah posts are positioned dozens of meters apart on the Lebanese side of the fence, while fighters are also positioned among the villagers in Lebanese border communities.
    An Israeli tank remains out of site near the border with Lebanon An Israeli tank remains out of site near the border with Lebanon
    An IDF tank remains out of sight close to the border with Lebanon
    (Photo: AFP)
    According to the IDF commanders, maintaining full vigilance along a 150 km stretch from the Mediterranean Sea in the west to the foothills of Mt. Hermon in the east is no easy task.
    The IDF was pleased with how Monday's security incident ended - with no causalities reported on either side - although there is no illusion that the danger of confrontation has truly passed.
    אזור התקרית הביטחונית סמוך להר דב בצפוןאזור התקרית הביטחונית סמוך להר דב בצפון
    Smoke rising from the scene of the IDF confrontation with Hezbollah infiltrators on Monday
    (Photo: AFP)
    Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah said Monday that his organization has yet to respond to the killing of its operative last week in an air strike near Damascus Airport that was attributed to Israel.
    IDF officers said that the military is carrying out sensitive operations some distance from the border, aiming to thwart attempts by Hezbollah to arm themselves with precision missiles and other advanced weapons and prevent to Iranian entrenchment in Syria.
    An escalation along the Israel-Lebanon border, they said, could harm those efforts.

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