Soldiers were carrying out searches for two suspects who crossed into northern Israel from Lebanon early Thursday, the army said, amid rising tensions along the restive northern frontier.
Troops were deployed to the area around the towns of Dovev and Baram near the Blue Line with Lebanon at around 2 a.m. after two suspicious people were spotted crossing the border fence into Israel, according to Hebrew media reports.
“At this hour, Israeli forces are in pursuit of two suspects and using an array of utilities to stop them,” the Israel Defense Forces said in a statement just before 6 a.m.
Flares and aircraft were being utilized in the search, according to videos from the area that were shared on social media.
As a precautionary move, the military instructed people in Dovev and Baram to remain inside their homes, but this order was quickly lifted, indicating the suspects were likely to be migrants looking for work rather than armed terrorist operatives.
“Troops are isolating the area where the suspects are, which includes deploying forces and blocking roads,” the army said.
There was no immediate comment from Lebanese authorities or UNIFIL, the United Nations peacekeeping force stationed in southern Lebanon.
The suspected infiltration came less than two days after a rare rocket attack from Lebanon on Israel early Tuesday, which followed closely on the heels of alleged Israeli airstrikes on sites near Aleppo apparently connected to Iranian-backed militias. A second Israeli sortie was reported early Thursday.
It was unclear if the suspected incident was connected to the tensions. Lebanon is in the midst of a devastating economic and political crisis that has seen its currency bottom out and sent masses into the streets to protest.
In early June, two Turkish nationals crossed into Israel from Lebanon, apparently looking for work. They were arrested after a 12-hour manhunt.