Israeli tree cutting sparks border skirmish with Lebanon

Tension prevailed on both sides of the border after Israeli forces resumed routine activity in the area where deadly clashes took place Aug. 4 between Israeli and Lebanese soldiers. The Israeli forces managed to cut down the tree which ignited the skirmishes, Israel’s Army Radio reported. The army said it had the right to remove trees if they hinder visibility and make Israeli forces vulnerable to attacks. Armored vehicles were stationed in the area to protect Israeli machinery used to cut down the tree which ignited the clashes. Israel and Lebanon blame each other for the brief exchange of fire that left one Israeli soldier, two Lebanese troops, and a Lebanese journalist dead.

UNIFIL, the interim UN force stationed along the border area between Israel and Lebanon, released findings that the trees being cut by Israel were located south (Israeli) of the Blue Line, as alleged by Israeli officials. The trees, on the Lebanon side of the border fence appear to have in fact been on Israeli-controlled lands, with the fence and the interim borders not aligning in several places. (Ma’an News Agency, Aug. 4)

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