One man was killed and another one was seriously wounded in a shooting incident with IDF soldiers on the Israeli-Lebanese border Sunday, Lebanese security sources reported.
While patrolling near the village of Ghajar, located on the border, soldiers identified three figures moving along the border fence and opened fire at them, wounding two of the men.
UNIFIL and Lebanon army forces apprehended the smugglers and transferred two of them to a hospital in southern Lebanon, where one of them died of his wounds.
According to the IDF, the men were drug dealers en route to carry out a drug sale.
Following the incident, and before the men were captured on the Lebanese side, army helicopters were sent to the scene to search for the two dealers who escaped.
The UN peacekeeping force, which is deployed in southern Lebanon along the border with Israel, confirmed in a statement a ''shooting incident in the area of Ghajar'' and said it has launched an ''immediate investigation to ascertain the facts, looking into initial allegations of smuggling.''
Yasmina Bouziane, spokeswoman for the 13,000-strong UN Interim Force in Lebanon, said in a statement that a Lebanese man was evacuated by UNIFIL troops to a hospital in Marjayoun where he was later declared dead. Bouziane said UNIFIL ''is in contact with senior officers on both sides, urging them to show maximum restraint.''
Army sources said that Sunday's incident was the third time in the last three weeks in which soldiers managed to thwart a drug deal in the region.
The divided village has for years served as a dangerous breach allowing for infiltrations from the Lebanese side.
Prior to the Second Lebanon War of 2006, Hizbullah used the Lebanese side of Ghajar as a base to spy into Israel, and also tried to launch several attacks against Israeli soldiers from the area.
The period following the war saw a number of incidents in which Lebanese shepherds crossed the border into Israel.
Hagai Einav contributed to the report