As tensions quickly increase between israel and Lebanon, the israel Defense Forces have canceled leave for northern combat brigades. Meanwhile, the United Nations has extended the mission for its 10,500-man peacekeeping force on the two nations’ border.
Israel’s Northern Command chief, Maj. Gen. Amir Baram, made the announcement Thursday, telling the Times of Israel it was done in part to calm the nerves of civilians living near the border with Lebanon, a UN-imposed separator called the Blue Line.
The Blue Line is a de facto border, created by the United Nations in 2000 to determine whether or not Israeli forces had totally withdrawn from Lebanon. However, the Blue Line differs from the internationally recognized 1949 borders, in some places by as much as several hundred meters.
The news comes as skirmishes between Israel and the Lebanese Shiite militant group Hezbollah have increased in recent days, following the August 25 airstrike by the Israeli Air Force that killed two Hezbollah members outside the Lebanese capital of Beirut.
Hezbollah, which defeated the IDF in that war when the latter invaded southern Lebanon, vowed a “calculated strike” in response that “wouldn’t lead to a war that neither Hezbollah nor Israel wants,” according to a Reuters report…