Sudanese Man Returned by Israeli Army to Lebanon After Crossing Border

Woman in town close to the border found the man more than an hour after military search force left the area

Noa Shpigel
Noa Shpigel
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A Sudanese man who crossed the border from Lebanon into Israel questioned by soldiers, June 17, 2020.
A Sudanese man who crossed the border from Lebanon into Israel questioned by soldiers, June 17, 2020.Credit: Dima Solodkin
Noa Shpigel
Noa Shpigel

A Sudanese man was returned to Lebanon by the Israeli army Wednesday after he crossed the border and made his way to a nearby Israeli town.

In a statement, the Israel Defense Forces said that soldiers at an observation post saw the man crossing the border and that he was returned after questioning. The IDF said there has been an increase recently in the number of Sudanese citizens trying to cross into Israel from Lebanon to look for work.

A woman who lives in Shlomi, which is about a kilometer from the Lebanese border, said she went outside before dawn after hearing noises, and saw soldiers searching the area. Liron Cohen Rotash said they told her it was an exercise. About an hour and a half after the soldiers left, she noticed a man wearing a black shirt and tried to photograph him. She called the town’s security officer, and about 40 minutes later, soldiers found the man in a drainage ditch. “It could have ended differently. What if he had been a terrorist?” Cohen Rotash said.

In a statement Wednesday, the IDF Spokesperson’s Unit said soldiers deployed to Shlomi found the man after a local woman saw him. “He was detained and returned to Lebanon after questioning,” the statement said.

In May, the IDF returned to Lebanon five Sudanese citizens who had crossed into Israel, hoping to find work. Later that month, Israeli soldiers also shot and seriously wounded a Syrian citizen who had crossed into Israel. He was evacuated by helicopter to Rambam Health Care Campus in Haifa. He was carrying a weapon. A Hezbollah television station in Lebanon, Al-Manar, reported that the man was a shepherd who worked in Lebanon.

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