A Lebanese man was injured by a smoke grenade that was tossed by Israeli soldiers on Friday, June 9 to stop locals, egged on by Hizballah, from dismantling an IDF barbed wire fence put in place there a few days ago. The Lebanese national army thereupon took up readiness positions and pointed firearms at the Israel force.
According to the Israeli military, this incident began with a group of Lebanese crossing the international blue line in the area and harassing the IDF engineering team conducting routine repairs on the barrier. It consists of a fence studded with ditches, earth ramparts and hillocks. The IDF crew used crowd dispersal measure to drive the Lebanese back. End of incident.
But it was followed up on Friday. Israeli military sources conclude that it was part of series of provocations staged by Hizballah, firstly to keep its feud with Israel at the forefront of the news and second, to force the Lebanese army to go into action against Israel.
In some previous incidents, Lebanese and Israeli soldiers were drawn into fisticuffs; in one, Lebanese civilians surrounded an IDF force which ran over a mine and suffered at least one injury. On Wednesday, a Lebanese man threw rocks at an IDF tractor working in the Mt. Dov area.
Military officials warn that these apparently minor incidents could quickly blow up into exchanges of fire between Hizballah and Israel involving the Lebanese army.
Hizballah chief Hassan Nasrallah indicated which way the wind was blowing on Israel’s northern border when he said in a recent speech, “Our people are there and solidly behind the people of South Lebanon with open eyes. That is why Israeli troops are afraid to hit back.”