Lebanon army says Israel seized citizen on border

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BEIRUT (Reuters) – Lebanon’s army said late on Saturday that an Israel border patrol had seized a Lebanese woman in the Shebaa area and taken her across the frontier.

“On April 28 at 8.30pm an Israeli enemy patrol carried out the abduction of Nohad Dali from the town of Shebaa and took her into occupied Palestinian territory,” said a Lebanese army command statement carried on Lebanon’s state news agency NNA.

The Shebaa region includes a small disputed area that Israel regards as part of the Golan Heights, which it has occupied since capturing it from Syria in 1967, but which Lebanon says is part of its territory.

A U.N. peacekeeping force is based on the Lebanon-Israel border. The last outright conflict there was a short war in 2006 between Israel and Lebanon’s heavily armed, Iranian-backed Hezbollah group.

Tensions between Israel and Hezbollah have heightened over the group’s role in the Syrian civil war, where it has gained more experience and an increased arsenal fighting alongside President Bashar al-Assad as part of an Iran-backed alliance.

Lebanon has raised the seizure of Dali with the U.N. peacekeepers, the army statement said.

An Israeli army spokesman said: “I’m aware of this report and have nothing for you on it at this time.”

Reporting By Angus McDowall, additional reporting by Dan Williams in Jerusalem; Editing by Elaine Hardcastle

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