BEIRUT: The Lebanese soldier who shot and killed an Israeli soldier had likely planned only to deter his victim from engaging in “provocative and indecent” acts on the border, a local Lebanese newspaper reported Friday.
Al-Liwaa newspaper, quoting a source, said Lebanese soldiers stationed on the border had been repulsed for weeks by an Israeli soldier who visibly urinated in a “provocative and indecent” manner.
The Lebanese soldiers saw the behavior as an affront to them and one of the soldiers decided to shoot at the Israeli “possibly not with the aim of killing but rather scaring him.”
A Lebanese soldier shot and killed an Israeli soldier Sunday on the border dividing the two states in an act that both the Lebanese government and the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon said was unsanctioned by the Lebanese military.
The Israeli army identified the victim as Shlomi Cohen, 31. The shooter was identified by Al-Liwaa as Hasan Adel Ibrahim.
Lebanese military forces have expressed regret about the spread of misinformation regarding the border incident. Sources recently denied news on the “Lebanon Files” website, which reported that the Lebanese soldier who shot the Israeli soldier had been arrested.
And another incident on the border threatened the tense calm Friday when the Israeli army bulldozed a tree close to the border fence.
An Israeli force of 10 soldiers backed by a Jeep and a bulldozer were cutting the branches of the tree, which had been uprooted by the recent storm, under the supervision of an army vehicle.
The tree was beside a technical fence parallel to the eastern entrance of the Odeisseh village and the Israeli presence there sparked alert among the nearby army units.
The Lebanese Army went on high alert along the road leading from Kfarkila and Odeisseh and UNIFIL vehicles were stationed in the region to monitor the Israeli work.
A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Daily Star on December 21, 2013, on page 2.