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Border tensions between Lebanese Army, Israel escalate
Israel has repeatedly violated Lebanese airspace, territory and waters, despite the maritime border demarcation agreement signed in October 2022
By News Desk - January 22 2023
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File image. Lebanese army soldiers patrol after protests in the northern city of Tripoli, Lebanon, 28 April, 2020. (Photo credit: AP Photo/Bilal Hussein)

On Sunday, 22 January, the Lebanese Armed Forces (LAF) declared a state of alert following rising tensions with Israel in recent days.

The decision was made after the Israeli forces began construction work on the Lebanon border fence over territorial disputes.

Days prior, the LAF stopped an Israeli military bulldozer from continuing its operation, citing claims that it was operating on Lebanese territory.

Israel alleges that it began construction work to clear the field of vision at the Lebanese-Israeli border, despite crossing into Lebanese territory by several feet.

After the LAF had stopped the bulldozers from operating on Thursday, UN peacekeepers and a Lebanese official arrived at the scene. Since then, Israel has halted all operations near the Hounin Valley in southern Lebanon.

However, Israeli violations of Lebanese territory, air space, and territorial waters are nothing new.

Earlier in January, the Lebanese Army claimed that an Israeli gunboat and drone violated the Lebanese airspace and maritime border. According to Reuters, the Lebanese Army fired at the drone.

Shortly after the incident, the LAF published a statement saying the drone violated its airspace “from opposite the (southern) town of Ramyah towards the town of Marwahin for 20 minutes.”

In another statement, the army said, “a gunboat belonging to the Israeli enemy breached the Lebanese territorial waters off Ras Naqura, south of Lebanon, for about 203 meters.”

Despite the signing of the recent maritime border demarcation agreement between Israel and Lebanon, Israel continues to violate Lebanon’s sovereignty.

Hezbollah Secretary General Hassan Nasrallah said in a speech on 27 October that the maritime border agreement with Israel, which was officially finalized on the same day, is a great victory for Lebanon and cannot be considered normalization, as some accused.

“The document that Lebanon will keep does not bear an Israeli signature, and officials in Lebanon acted precisely so as not to create the suspicion of normalization,” Nasrallah explained, confirming that the Lebanese state dealt with Israel indirectly throughout the entirety of the process.

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