The Daily Star reported yesterday that there was a major explosion on the Israel-Lebanon border in which four IDF soldiers were wounded. After the Lebanese army investigated, it reported that a likely Israeli patrol had crossed the border for an unspecified purpose and caused the explosion. The article speculated that the incident might’ve resulted from either an Israeli landmine planted by the IDF along the border; or from a Hezbollah IED designed to foil precisely such unwanted “visits.” Daily Star notes that the Lebanese militia has discovered a number of similar Israeli attempts to tap into its communications lines.
The article further notes a disagreement on the position of the Israeli patrol when the mishap occurred. The Lebanese army said it was 400 meters inside the border. Another source said it was only a few meters inside the border.
An Israeli confidential source allows me to clarify much of what occurred: a combined unit of Israeli special forces (Sayeret Matkal) and Egoz (a commando reconnaissance unit) infiltrated Lebanon in order to plant “listening devices.” They’d only managed to penetrate a few hundred meters into the country when they set off a landmine, which injured four members. The mission was aborted and the unit retreated.
The Star notes that the IDF planted an extensive mine field to frustrate Hezbollah penetration into Israel. It would seem highly unlikely an IDF patrol would’ve been unable to avoid its own landmines. Therefore, it’s much more likely a Hezbollah munition exploded. If so, this represents yet another failed IDF mission to monitor Hezbollah and stay one step ahead of it in the espionage race.
Over the past year or more, Lebanon exposed a series of espionage rings operated by Israel. Earlier this summer, Hezbollah hijacked the navigation system of an advanced Israeli drone, which was scuttled before it fell into enemy hands, as a U.S. drone did inside Iran. Another intelligence failure was Israel’s attack on an Assad missile depot in Latakia. Though Israel did destroy a warehouse, much of the targeted munitions had been moved. The mission had been compromised by a mole within the ranks of Israel’s FSA ally.