Man crosses border into Lebanon

Former Southern Lebanon Army soldier seen crossing border from Israel to Lebanon. IDF says he turned himself into Lebanese army.

Kobi Finkler ,

IDF on the Lebanon border
IDF on the Lebanon border

IDF observers on Thursday evening identified a man who crossed the border from Israel to Lebanon in the Upper Galilee.

According to information provided by the IDF, the man is a member of a family of former soldiers from the South Lebanon Army (SLA). The man surrendered himself to the Lebanese army. Military sources said that the IDF contacted UNIFIL on the matter.

The Lebanese news agency identified the man as Shadi Bitros Mazhar, 31, from a family of former SLA veterans who fled to Israel in 2000.

The SLA was an anti-Islamist, anti-PLO army of Lebanese Arabs which was heavily supported by Israel. The IDF and the SLA collaborated against Hezbollah and PLO terrorist forces before and during the years that Israel operated a security zone in southern Lebanon, between 1982 and 2000.

When the IDF withdrew from Lebanon in 2000 without prior warning, the SLA collapsed and many of its fighters fled into Israel.

In April, a Lebanese citizen was captured in Kiryat Shmona after infiltrating into Israel near the town of Margaliot, on the Israel-Lebanon border. The man was caught unarmed. Israel sent him back to his country through UNIFIL.