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June 20, 2016 12:45 pm

Renewed Fears in Northern Israel About Hezbollah Attack as Additional Watchtowers Appear on Lebanese Side of Border

avatar by Ruthie Blum

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The Israel-Lebanon border. Photo: Wikimedia Commons.

The Israel-Lebanon border. Photo: Wikimedia Commons.

A month after residents of northern Israel expressed concern that watchtowers they noticed appearing on the Lebanese side of the border were placed there by Hezbollah, additional such structures were erected, the Hebrew news site Walla reported on Monday.

According to the report, these new watchtowers, like the first ones, are located mere meters from the Israeli border.

Approximately two weeks ago, it was revealed that during Avigdor Lieberman’s first visit to the area in his new role as defense minister, one of the watchtowers was manned with an armed guard and another person, dressed in civilian clothes and taking photographs of Lieberman, IDF Chief of Staff Gadi Eizenkot and other officers in their entourage — from the moment their helicopter landed and throughout their visit.

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One resident of the area told Walla that, since that day, the watchtowers “have been permanently manned.”

The IDF Spokesperson’s Unit, according to Walla, called these claims “filled with inaccuracies.”

About two weeks before that, residents of the North complained that they saw at least nine watchtowers sprout up between Rosh Hanikra and Moshav Zar’it in the upper Galilee. Some of these, it was reported, overlook Israeli military installations and have a clear view of IDF troop movements along the border.

A resident of Moshav Zar’it said at the time that only Hezbollah could have erected those towers, and expressed fear of an imminent “catastrophe” in the making.

The Israeli defense establishment was quick to try and allay these fears, asserting that the towers were erected by the Lebanese army. The IDF said that it was closely monitoring the issue and that there was no change in the situational assessment. The sudden addition of new towers, however, has residents unconvinced.

Their jumpy reactions coincide with events in Israel marking the 10th anniversary of the Second Lebanon War, which began on July 12, 2006 and lasted for 34 days. It which was precipitated by massive, Iran-backed Hezbollah rocket fire into Israel, following the Shiite terrorist organization’s killing and kidnapping of IDF soldiers patrolling the Israeli side of the border.

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