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Israel-Lebanon border sees “intensive mobilization” after IS tanks fire on protests

The Israeli-Lebanese border is heavily deployed on both sides after Israeli tanks opened fire to push out protesters, one of whom was killed while crossing the disputed border in support of Palestinian militants in Gaza fighting Israel.

“ISIS tanks fired warning shots at a number of insurgents who crossed from Lebanon into Israeli territory,” a statement from the Israeli Defense Forces said in a statement. Newsweek. “The suspects sabotaged the fence and set fire to the area before returning to Lebanese territory.”

Footage on social media and news outlets showed masses of protesters carrying Palestinian and Iranian flags, as well as those of the Lebanese movement Hezbollah, a powerful Iranian-backed group that has twice fought Israel over the hostile border.

The information was confirmed by the Lebanese Ministry of Information, whose official newspaper reported that two young people were injured in the incident, one of whom, Mohamed Tahan, later died during medical treatment.

“Two Lebanese nationals were injured this afternoon when two Israeli shells landed near them after a number of young people tried to enter the town of Metula through a barbed wire fence,”

; the official Lebanese news agency said. the vigilance of the army and prevents them from advancing towards the fence by firing two shells at the young men. “

As a result, the Lebanese armed forces deployed to the scene.

“Much of the Lebanese army and security forces arrived immediately and worked to prevent the young men from attacking, and set up checkpoints to prevent any of the citizens from approaching the barbed wire,” the agency said. Ambulances of the Islamic Health Authority transported the injured men to the government hospital in Marjayun. “

“Meanwhile,” he added, “there was intense mobilization on both sides during the trial.”

In a statement, Lebanese President Michel Aoun later “condemned the crime committed by Israeli forces in the shooting of a group of young people demonstrating at the southern border in protest of the aggression in Gaza that killed young Mohammed Tahan and the wounding of another.” “

He asked Foreign Minister Sharbel Webe “to inform the UN about the attack in preparation for taking the necessary steps”.

Hezbollah, for its part, issued a statement lamenting Tahan’s death and reaffirming the group’s support for the demonstrations and the Palestinians involved in the battle against Israel in Gaza.

Lebanon, Israel, border, fire, protests
A photo taken from the northern Israeli city of Metula, near the Lebanese border, shows a fire that broke out after protesters at a Palestinian protest in the Hiam area on May 14. Two Lebanese protesters were wounded by Israeli fire as dozens protested against the Lebanese-Israeli border in protest of strikes in the Gaza Strip, Palestinian state media reported.
JALAA MAREY / AFP / Getty images

Officers from the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL), who have been patrolling the border since 1978 in response to the Lebanese civil war involving Israel and Palestinian groups among a number of local and regional factions, were also stationed at the outbreak. The border, officially known as the Blue Line, remained tense independently and has since been the site of two wars and a series of clashes, most of which involve Hezbollah.

“Head of Mission and Commander-in-Chief of UNIFIL Major General [Stefano] Del Cole is liaising with the countries to prevent escalation in the area, “a UNIFIL spokesman said Friday in a statement sent to Newsweek. “Our troops are on site to prevent violations, and together with LAF, we have strengthened security in the area.”

Following the announcement of Tahan’s death, UNIFIL shared another statement with Newsweek.

“We are aware of reports that a Lebanese civilian was killed on the Blue Line near Kafer Kila in southern Lebanon today during a confrontation with the ISIS,” the statement said, adding that UNIFIL had “immediately launched an investigation into the facts.” and the circumstances. “

“Any loss of life is tragic,” the statement added, “and we call on everyone to remain calm and avoid further escalation of the situation and the risk of more lives.”

A Lebanese official confirmed to Newsweek that the Lebanese armed forces have increased their presence near the Israeli border and near the Palestinian refugee camps.

The unrest is reportedly continuing as young people from the Palestinian refugee camp at Ain al-Hilwe camp gathered across the border and were fired upon by the ISIS with tear gas and rockets. The Lebanese armed forces also registered air strikes involving Israeli reconnaissance planes over Baalbek, Beirut and northern Lebanon.

Friday’s chaos is at least the second case of a cross-border fire in so many days. The IDF said on Thursday that three rockets had been fired from Lebanese territory into the Mediterranean off the coast of Galilee.

IS spokesman Lt. Col. Jonathan Conricus told reporters earlier Friday that “there are no Israeli casualties and no damage,” but said Israeli forces were monitoring the country’s northern borders with Lebanon and Syria.

“We continue, of course, to be very vigilant, looking north, northeast and appreciating everything that happens there,” Conricus said. “Currently, [there is] there is no significant change in the situation in the north, but we are watching events closely. “

A Lebanese official said Newsweek on Thursday, the rocket launches probably originated from the Palestinian refugee camp Rashidie, which is located off the coast of southern Lebanon. The Lebanese armed forces later said they had found three missiles near the camp.

The heightened unrest on the already troubled border between Israel and Lebanon was followed later on Friday by IS reports that “three missiles were fired from Syria into Israeli territory, one of which failed and fell on Syrian territory,” it said. in a statement sent to Newsweek.

Development threatens to open many fronts against Israel, which has previously fought many Arab states at once in recent decades.

The chaos on Israel’s northern borders comes amid a fire in the long-running Israeli-Palestinian conflict, long a source of conflict with Israel and its neighbors. The latest round of fighting erupted after Israeli forces stormed the Al-Aqsa Mosque complex amid demonstrations over attempts by Israeli families to expel Palestinians from the Sheikh Jara district of Jerusalem.

Palestinian militias such as Hamas and the Palestinian Islamic Jihad fired a barrage of nearly 2,000 missiles, according to IS estimates, while the Israeli side conducted hundreds of air strikes and launched ground operations Thursday in an attempt to worsen Gaza’s combat capabilities.

Gaza, Israel, air strike, Palestinians, bank
Black smoke rises after an Israeli air strike on the city of Gaza, aimed at the Intaj Bank, linked to the Hamas movement, which controls the Gaza Strip on May 14. Israel struck Gaza and deployed additional troops to the border as Palestinians fired back rockets at the death enclave in the enclave on the fourth day of the conflict, rising to more than 100.
MOHAMMED ABED / AFP / Getty Images

A delegation of Hezbollah officials, including the group’s number two, Deputy Secretary-General Sheikh Naim Qassem and members of the Political Bureau Mahmoud Kumati and Hassan Hobala, met on Friday with Palestinian Islamic Jihad Secretary-General Ziad Nahaleh and the Lebanese-based leadership represented by Osama Hamdan, Ali Baraka and Ahmed Abdel Hadi, according to Hezbollah-linked Lebanese center Al Manar.

Kasem praised the ongoing campaign of the Palestinian movements and reaffirmed his organization’s unwavering support.

“Hezbollah has always been with the Palestinian resistance, with the jihad of the Palestinian people, with the liberation of Jerusalem,” Kasem said. “We are with them in support, support and assistance in all ways and we always fulfill our obligations, which we have undertaken at various steps and stages.”

Newsweek spoke with a Hezbollah spokesman on Wednesday, who also reaffirmed the organization’s support for the Palestinian side in the ongoing battle and said Hezbollah’s intervention was not yet necessary.

“Of course, we are supporters,” a Hezbollah spokesman said Newsweek at this time. “But I don’t think they need our people. The numbers are available. All the missiles and capabilities are in the hands of the Palestinian resistance fighters.”

The latest escalation of the Israeli-Lebanon border came about a week after US Ambassador John P. Desroher was on his way to Lebanon in a bid to speed up talks to settle the maritime dispute between the two countries.

On Friday, the State Department announced that Deputy Assistant Secretaries for Israeli and Palestinian Affairs Hadi Amr had arrived in Tel Aviv in an attempt to “work for lasting peace, recognizing Israel’s right to self-defense. Israelis and Palestinians deserve equal measures for freedom, security, dignity and prosperity. “

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