IDF arrests migrant workers who infiltrated from Lebanon

Two migrant workers, reportedly originating from Sudan, were found and taken for questioning by the military.

Israel-Lebanon border (photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM/THE JERUSALEM POST)
Israel-Lebanon border
(photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM/THE JERUSALEM POST)

IDF troops arrested two migrant workers who crossed into Israel from Lebanon early on Saturday night.

The two men, reported to be Sudanese, were identified by IDF observers after crossing in the area of the Ramim Ridge in the west of the Galilee Panhandle.

They were arrested by troops from the Nahal Brigade’s 931st Battalion and questioned on the spot.

On Thursday night, an Israeli citizen was returned from Lebanon about a month after he crossed the northern border. He was handed over to Israeli security forces by the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL).

The man, a Bedouin in his 20s from southern Israel, was returned following weeks of effort by the IDF, the Foreign Ministry, the Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency) and other relevant bodies.

Soldiers at the Lebanon border (credit: RONEN ZVULUN / REUTERS)Soldiers at the Lebanon border (credit: RONEN ZVULUN / REUTERS)

It is unclear where he spent his time while in Lebanon or why he crossed the border.

IDF Spokesperson Brig.-Gen. Ran Kohav told reporters that the man has mental health issues and had crossed the border of his own volition by foot.

The frontier with Lebanon has been flagged by the IDF as vulnerable to enemy infiltration and has seen dozens of drug and weapon smuggling incidents along the border, and several infiltrations by migrant workers in the past year.

According to IDF data, the military thwarted nine attempts to infiltrate from Lebanon and two from Syria. It confiscated 120 kg. of drugs and 75 weapons over the past year.

In July, two men were arrested after crossing from Lebanon. Troops searched the area for about five hours before finding them. A month earlier, two other job-seekers hid from IDF forces for over 12 hours after they infiltrated.

Due to the ongoing infiltration, Israel has been investing significant amounts of money and effort into strengthening its border with Lebanon, creating obstacles and building high concrete barriers.

The IDF has said that the main threats to the country remain the rocket arsenals of Hamas and Hezbollah, Iran’s nuclear program, and potential nuclear weapon and infiltration forces such as Hezbollah’s Radwan unit into communities along the porous border.

Last week, the Defense Ministry announced it has expanded its Northern Shield (Magen Hatzafon) program to fortify homes in border communities Metulla, Shlomi and Shtula.