Lebanon arrests US man who entered illegally from Israel

Officials to question Colin Emery, who Lebanese military says was found by security forces hiding in southern city of Tyre

A US man has been arrested after illegally entering Lebanon via the border with Israel, the Lebanese army has said, a rare incident between the two countries still technically at war.

“Following extensive search operations, an Intelligence Directorate [security service] patrol found American citizen Colin Emery hiding in Tyre and arrested him,” a statement from the military said on Thursday.

It added that Emery, who had entered Lebanon on Tuesday, would be questioned under the supervision of a judge.

A military official told the AFP news agency that Lebanese authorities were in contact with the United Nations peacekeeping mission UNIFIL over the incident.

Lebanon and Israel are separated by the “blue line”, a demarcation drawn by the UN to verify Israel’s withdrawal from southern Lebanon in 2000.

Incursions across the heavily guarded frontier are rare.

In 2014, a Palestinian citizen of Israel said to be suffering from psychiatric issues crossed into Lebanon before being repatriated by the International Committee of the Red Cross.

The Israeli military occasionally arrests shepherds around the disputed Shebaa Farms area.

Apart from a few incidents, the border has remained calm since a 2006 war between Israel and Hezbollah, which killed 1,200 in Lebanon and 160 in Israel.

Israel is currently building a wall along the 130km frontier to block what it says are Hezbollah attempts to infiltrate.

Earlier this month, Israel said it had uncovered all cross-border attack tunnels it says were dug by Hezbollah from Lebanon and would bring its operation to find and destroy them to an end after more than a month.

Source: Middle East Eye