Defense Minister Ehud Barak on Sunday defended the IDF's use of force against Nakba Day protesters attempting to infiltrate Israel's Syrian and Lebanese borders, saying the soldiers' restraint actually saved lives.

"We used protest dispersal methods, but the number of people involved made this difficult. There comes a moment when there's no choice but to fire at their legs and it is very good that forces acted with restraint and judgment and we did not have here a ruinous bloodbath."

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Barak said during a Channel 2 interview that "the IDF must defend the state's sovereignty, and, all told, succeeded in doing so today."

He added, however, that the fact that infiltrators succeeded in breaking through the border fence and storming Majdal Shams demanded an investigation from which lessons would be learned.

"There were deaths in a few places, and we are sorry for the deaths, but those who tested Israel's sovereignty and those who sent them and encouraged them are responsible," Barak said.

The defense minister warned of future incidents of the same kind occurring. "We are only at the beginning of things and it could be that we will see even more complicated challenges of this kind."

Barak praised the IDF forces involved in the incidents. "All in all, the commanders handled this correctly. It is too bad that they got all the way to Majdal Shams, but I refuse to get excited about every event."

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