Israel Erects Earth Mounds in Wazzani Area Amid Warning Against ‘Calculated Incursion’
Israeli troops deployed 10 tanks and bulldozers before midnight Monday and began erecting earth mounds at the technical fence in the Wazzani area where they clashed with Lebanese troops the same day.
Media reports said Tuesday that the move led to a state of alert among Lebanese and UNIFIL troops on Army Day.
The 10 Israeli vehicles included three Merkava tanks, they said, adding that the patrols pointed their floodlights at parks on the banks of the Wazzani river.
On Monday morning, the Lebanese and Israeli armies exchanged fire after a Jewish state patrol crossed the U.N.-drawn Blue Line, the Lebanese military said.
Both sides reported no casualties but each blamed the other for the clash.
The Lebanese army command said the incident occurred at around 5:50 am when a 15-member Israeli patrol in the Wazzani area crossed the technical fence and went beyond it about 70 meters.
“Forces stationed in the area confronted it and an exchange of fire occurred,” the communiqué said. The Israeli patrol withdrew from the area at around 7:25 am, it added.
However, an Israeli military spokeswoman told Agence France Presse that an Israeli military force “carrying out a routine patrol within Israeli territory near the Israel-Lebanon border was fired upon from the direction of Lebanon."
Two Lebanese soldiers, a Lebanese journalist and a senior Israeli officer were killed in a rare cross-border clash in Adaisseh in August last year, the worst such violence since the 2006 war between Israel and Hizbullah.
Involved Lebanese sources told An Nahar daily on Tuesday that the “army confronted the Israeli incursion yesterday as it did in the Adaisseh confrontation to stress Lebanon’s right in having reservations in the area of the violation.”
They said the “calculated incursion” was a message against Lebanon’s attempts to claim its rights over the natural resources in its Exclusive Economic Zone and demarcate its maritime borders.
The sources warned that Lebanon should be ready for a “difficult battle” with the Jewish state.