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BEIRUT – Lebanese soldiers went on alert Monday after Israeli troops rolled out barbed wire along the border, as tensions remained high two weeks after Israel launched an operation to identify and destroy Hezbollah tunnels.
Lebanon's state-run National News Agency said the incident occurred on the edge of the southern village of Mays al-Jabal when Israeli troops installed 200-meters (yards) of wire. Lebanese troops protested that the wire was placed on their side of the border.
A video circulating on social media showed Lebanese soldiers protesting and calling U.N. peacekeepers to tell Israeli troops standing nearby to push the wire several meters back behind the blue line demarcating the frontier between the two countries, which are technically still at war.
Andrea Tenenti, a spokesman for the U.N. peacekeeping force in Lebanon known as UNIFIL said that after reports of a "standoff" between Lebanese and Israeli troops along the blue line, "UNIFIL troops were deployed in the area to defuse the situation, prevent misunderstandings and maintain stability."
"The situation in the area is now calm and our troops are on the ground," Tenenti said.
In Beirut, Prime Minister-designate Saad Hariri on Monday received the head of UNIFIL, Gen. Stefano Del Col, according to a statement released by Hariri's office. The statement said the officials discussed the "latest developments in the south as well as the tasks carried out by UNIFIL."
The Lebanon-Israel border has caught world attention over the past two weeks after Israel said it has exposed four Hezbollah attack tunnels dug from Lebanon.
The militant Hezbollah group, which used such tunnels inside Lebanon in the 2006 war, has yet to comment on the operation.
Israel has called on the international community to impose new sanctions on the Iranian-backed Hezbollah, a heavily-armed mini-army with an arsenal of tens of thousands of rockets that can reach nearly every part of Israel.
The Israeli military said Sunday that it has placed explosives in the tunnel as part of an open-ended operation to identify and destroy the cross-border passageways.