Amidst rising tensions at the border between Israel and Lebanon, the Israeli army claimed, on January 16, to have infiltrated parts of the country’s south, according to Reuters.
The IDF said that, “its special forces infiltrated southern Lebanon and cleared mines in the village of Aita Al-Shaab.”
In response to the army’s claim, Lebanese militants Hezbollah as well as the United Nations’ peacekeeping force in the country denied that any illegal entry took place.
It is believed that the IDF, who made significant attempts to enter Lebanon, were foiled by Hezbollah and were prevented from breaching the barbed wire fencing separating the two countries.
Shortly after the Israeli army’s claims, The UN Interim Force claimed that they would carry out a thorough investigation into the incident.
The UN Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) was originally founded in 1978 as a means of ensuring that Israel withdrew from the country, peace in the region would be restored and at an international level more generally as well as aiding Lebanon’s government in fully restoring its authority in the area.
UN data has found that since October 7, hundreds have been killed in skirmishes between Israel and Hezbollah, most killed were fighters from the Iran-backed militants, and 75,000 Lebanese people living at the border had been displaced.
The Israeli army dropped leaflets by aircraft over areas in the south, addressed to residents warning that missiles were being launched from the region by Hezbollah and that as a result, the IDF would be launching strikes into the area so therefore they are advised to vacate the vicinity.
Israel, like in Gaza, claim to only be targeting militants and Netanyahu has in the past threatened the Lebanese group amidst their continuous refusal to retreat behind the Litani River.
The country has recently been ramping up the pressure on its neighbours, firing twenty airstrikes in areas around Hula, Wadi Saluki, Wadi Hujeir, the Rab Thalathine-Taybeh road, and Aita Al-Shaab on January 16, stoking tensions and fear amongst residents of these areas.