After the outbreak of southern Lebanon, more questions than answers | Israel News

Beirut, Lebanon – UN peacekeepers are investigating an incident on the southern border of Lebanon after Israel said it was thwarting an “attempted infiltration” by Hezbollah, although the Iran-backed group said the allegations were “absolutely false “.

Fears of a confrontation have increased significantly since Israel reportedly killed a Hezbollah fighter in Syria last week in a series of airstrikes in that country.

Ofir Gendelman, a government spokesman, announced on Twitter on Tuesday that Israel had reinforced forces in the “command of the northern military zone with advanced fire systems, intelligence gathering systems and special forces.”

The video showed UN peacekeepers evaluating a rugged area on the southern border of Lebanon that was bombed by Israel on Monday after announcing a “security incident.”

“To have a clear idea of ​​the events, UNIFIL has launched an investigation to determine the facts and circumstances of the incident. Our team is already on the ground to begin the investigation,” Andrea Tenenti, spokesperson for the UN peacekeeping force UN in South Lebanon (UNIFIL), he told Al Jazeera.

He added that calm returned to the southern zone on Tuesday and that the UN force commander, Major General Stefano Del Col, was working to “avoid misunderstandings and remain calm” through contacts within the Lebanese armies and Israeli.

Lebanese Prime Minister Hassan Diab denounced the incident as an “dangerous military escalation” by Israel and said it was an attempt to “ignite a confrontation” that could then be used as the basis for modifying the mandate of UNIFIL, which It will be renewed soon. month.

“I ask for caution in the coming days because I fear that things will get worse in light of the severe tension on our borders with occupied Palestine,” Diab said.

Lebanese President Michel Aoun also condemned Israel’s actions as “a threat to the climate of stability in southern Lebanon.”

But more than 24 hours later, it is unclear exactly what happened.

This is what we know:

At 3:30 pm (12:30 GMT) on Monday, the Israeli army announced a “security incident” in the Mount Hermon area, which is located near the occupied Shebaa Farms region claimed by Lebanon.

Approximately 10 minutes later, Israeli authorities ordered residents of the border area to stay home, and Israel began bombing southern Lebanon. The bombardment lasted approximately 30 minutes.

At 4:40 pm (13:30 GMT), the Israeli army announced that a group of three or four Hezbollah operatives had crossed the southern blue line marking the Israeli withdrawal from Lebanon in 2000, were shot by Israeli forces. and fled back the border.

“Roads are reopened in the north and civilian life is restored to routine,” Israeli army spokesman for Arabic language Avichay Adraee said in a tweet.

It took Hezbollah until just before 7 pm (16:00 GMT) to issue a statement denying that an operation had been carried out, saying that “the fearful, anxious and tense enemy” was trying to create “false and false victories “

Still, Hezbollah promised that an answer “would come definitively” after the murder of one of its fighters in Syria the previous week in an apparent Israeli airstrike.

Just after 8 p.m. (17:00 GMT), Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu doubled down on the charge that Hezbollah had infiltrated Israel, saying that Israeli forces would respond harshly to any future attack.

Two Lebanese army spokesmen and Defense Minister Zeina Akar could not be reached for comment Tuesday.

Where are the tapes?

Some reports in the Israeli media have raised doubts about the official version of the events, asking for video evidence of the attempted infiltration of Hezbollah.

Last September, Hezbollah fired several rockets into northern Israel in response to a drone attack in the southern suburbs of Beirut.

As part of a plan to prevent an escalation, Israel faked the soldiers’ injury by taking an airlift to a hospital before declaring several hours later that no one had been injured.

The ruse worked but raised doubts about trust in the information from the Israeli army. Following the incident, Hezbollah general secretary Hassan Nasrallah criticized the Israeli army as a “Hollywood army” and promised a stronger response in the future.

“So are there recordings of the incident at Har Dov on Monday? Or was it another Hollywood show?” Israel-based Jerusalem Post asked in a Tuesday article, using the Hebrew name for the Shebaa Farms area.