The head of the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL), Maj.-Gen. Stefano Del Col, warned on Monday that continued flights of IDF aircraft over Lebanese territory could renew hostilities between Lebanon and Israel.
"Such violations of Lebanese sovereignty and of resolution 1701 escalate tensions and could potentially trigger incidents endangering the cessation of hostilities between Lebanon and Israel," said Del Col to Lebanon's National News Agency (NNA).
Del Col added that UNIFIL has noted an "increase in activities of Israeli fighter aircraft flying in the Lebanese skies." The flights are violations of UN Security Council resolution 1701 and of Lebanese sovereignty, according to the UNIFIL head.
He called on Israel to "cease all overflights of Lebanese territory immediately." Del Col noted that the situation along the Lebanon-Israel border is relatively calm, according to NNA.
Lebanese often accuses Israel of operating military aircraft in their airspace. Syrian state media has reported in a number of incidents that airstrikes on targets in Syria were conducted by Israeli aircraft flying in Lebanese airspace. Video shared on social media has shown Israeli aircraft flying in Lebanese airspace, especially in recent months.
On Sunday, IDF aircraft were spotted as far north as the Beirut area, according to NNA.
The secretary-general of the Hezbollah terrorist movement, Hassan Nasrallah, has repeatedly warned that any Israeli aircraft flying in Lebanese airspace would be shot down. While a few small quadcopters have reportedly been shot down, Israeli aircraft have reportedly largely flown undisturbed there.
Israel's northern border has remained tense in recent months, amid a series of infiltrations by shepherds and migrant workers from Lebanon and incidents along the border.
Former defense minister Naftali Bennett warned on Monday that if the defense system doesn't act to stop the infiltration, "we may wake up one day to a terrorist attack by Hezbollah commando forces to towns along the northern border."
On Friday, a delegation of over 200 civilians and IDF personnel was spotted along the Lebanon-Israel border west of Qiryat Shemona, according to NNA, placing Lebanese Army and UNIFIL forces on alert in the area.
Earlier this month, an IDF Merkava tank was photographed facing Lebanese soldiers and UNIFIL peacekeeping forces near the Blue Line, with one picture showing a Lebanese soldier pointing an RPG at the tank, which was in the area as part of a patrol previously coordinated with UNIFIL.
Lebanese media claimed that this is the first time an Israeli tank has crossed the technical fence since the Second Lebanon War in 2006, when Israel lost 121 soldiers and 43 civilians. The patrol, made up of two tanks and a number of infantry forces, was coordinated with UNIFIL.