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IDF denies Lebanon claim fence crosses Blue Line
May 5, 2012 19:48
Beirut complains to UNIFIL that security barrier being erected on border near Metulla violating Lebanon's sovereign territory.
IDF soldier looks into Lebanon near Metula

IDF soldier with binoculars 370 . (photo credit:REUTERS/Finbarr O'Reilly)

The IDF on Saturday rejected Lebanese claims that a security fence Israel is putting up on the border between the two countries near the Israeli town of Metulla violates Lebanon's sovereign territory.

The IDF statement came after Lebanon filed a complaint with the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) on Friday, claiming that Israel was crossing over the Blue Line into Lebanese territory during excavations laying the groundwork for the fence.

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The IDF stated that the work on the fence was being coordinated with the UN forces stationed in southern Lebanon.

The barrier is being built "in order to improve the security situation in the region and to reduce tension," the IDF Spokesman's Office stated on Monday.

Metulla is one of the northernmost points in Israel, sitting just six kilometers from the Lebanese border. Its population, numbering approximately 1,500, is mostly Jewish.

Upon completion, the wall was expected be more than a kilometer long and a few meters high. The purpose of the wall is to prevent gun fire on the city of Metulla from Lebanese villages.

The building of the wall is expected to last weeks.

Periodic IDF work along the border with Lebanon often raises tensions with Beirut. A reserve battalion commander was killed in 2010 and another soldier was seriously wounded when a Lebanese sniper shot at an IDF force conducting routine maintenance work along the border.

During the Second Lebanon War, Metulla suffered from rocket and gun fire from Lebanon, resulting in the injury and deaths of residents.

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