Israeli Army Dismisses Officer After Lebanese Citizen Infiltrates Northern Border

The infiltrator raised suspicions at the central bus station in the northern town of Kiryat Shmona

File photo of an Israeli soldier standing guard at the Lebanese border.

The Israel Defense Forces has dismissed a deputy company commander deployed to the Israel-Lebanon border area after a Lebanese civilian infiltrated the border last week. The battalion commander has been disciplined over the incident.

The infiltrator was arrested after raising suspicions at the central bus station in the Israeli town of Kiryat Shmona. He was found to be carrying a Lebanese identity card and was questioned by police. The Israeli army said at the time that it was looking into the case and later said that the Lebanese man crossed the border near Margaliot, which is on the Lebanese border west of Kiryat Shmona.

An Israeli army investigation headed by Maj. Gen. Yoel Struck, the chief of the Northern Command, into the handling of the matter found fault with the conduct of the troops in patrolling the area, specifically related to the battalion command level. It was therefore decided to dismiss the deputy battalion commander and discipline the company commander. Four other soldiers are to face disciplinary hearings in the case. The army did not specify what the failings were that the investigation revealed, but said that "operational lessons were drawn with regard to the conduct of the forces."