Mystery Man Who Baffled Lebanese Authorities Returned to Israel

The man was detained by the Lebanese military on Tuesday after apparently jumping border fence.

An Israeli man with psychological problems arrested by the Lebanese army after crossing the border earlier this week was returned to Israel on Friday, the Israel Defense Forces said.

"An Israeli man, who crossed the international border...from Israel to Lebanon on Tuesday...was returned to Israel overnight," the IDF said in a statement.

It said his return was coordinated with the Lebanese Army and UNIFIL, the United Nations peacekeeping force in southern Lebanon.

IDF sources described the 30-year-old man as "seemingly mentally ill".

Lebanese and Israeli authorities were baffled by the case after the man snuck into Lebanon from Israel on Tuesday morning.

The man was detained by the Lebanese military after apparently jumping the border fence between the two countries at 6 A.M. on Tuesday.

Lebanese news agencies reported Tuesday that the man crossed the border near the southern Lebanon town of Bint Jbeil. According to the reports, the man was taken in for questioning by Lebanese intelligence officials, but did not cooperate with them.

It was also known that the man was not carrying any ID with him and that he refused to reveal his identity to Lebanese officials.

The United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon was updated on the situation while he was detained.

Israel Defense Forces troops spotted the man touching the border fence on Tuesday morning, but he was no longer visible when an IDF patrol arrived at the location where he was seen.

Following a sweep of the area, the IDF ruled out the possibility that somebody had infiltrated Israeli territory, and a short while later it became clear that the man had in fact crossed from Israel into Lebanon. It appears that the man crossed the border by jumping over the fence.

In a similar incident recently, the member of a family associated with the now-defunct South Lebanon Army crossed from Israel into Lebanon in order to be reunited with relatives who had remained in Lebanon.

However, former SLA soldiers now living in northern Israel confirmed on Thursday that the man who crossed the border two days earlier was not a member of their community.

The police had not received any reports of a missing person in northern Israel in the past few days.

Meanwhile, the United Nations Security Council on Thursday renewed the mandate of its peacekeeping force in southern Lebanon for another year and called on parties in conflict in the region to abide by the ceasefire.

UNIFIL, with more than 12,000 military and civilian personnel, will remain in southern Lebanon until August 31, 2010, to continue monitoring the ceasefire between Hezbollah and Israel that began in 2006.