The Israel Defense Forces confirmed on Monday afternoon that an Israeli had crossed the border into Lebanese territory, and that dialogue was being conducted through intermediaries given that the two countries remain technically at war.
Foreign media reported earlier in the day that a man had been arrested by Lebanese intelligence forces after he crossed the shared border.
Tensions remain high along Israel’s northern border, where the Iranian-backed Hezbollah terrorist organization has built more than 20 observation and guard posts over the past year.
According to U.N. Security Council Resolution 1701, which ended the 2006 Second Lebanon War between the IDF and Hezbollah, the terrorist group is forbidden from operating near the frontier.
Hezbollah launched the border posts project in parallel to Israel’s construction of a fortified fence along the 140-kilometer shared frontier.
Despite having no formal relations, Israel and Lebanon in October signed a U.S.-mediated maritime border deal.
The agreement effectively drew a border between the countries’ exclusive economic zones (EEZs) based on a boundary known as Line 23, and awarded a disputed area of around 840 square kilometers (324 square miles) to Lebanon, while recognizing Israel’s claim to the Karish gas field and to royalties from the section of the Qana field that extends into the Jewish state’s EEZ.