Israel considers wall on Lebanese border

Israel is considering walling off part of its border with Lebanon, fearing sniper fire at new apartment blocks in the town of Metulla, military sources said.

The sources said Israel was communicating with Lebanese and U.N. officials about erecting an anti-sniper wall along a 1.6-mile section of the frontier between Metulla and the Lebanese village of Kfarkila.

Any final decision on such a project would be coordinated with officials in Lebanon, the sources said, to help prevent sniper attacks during the construction work.

Although the two countries technically are in a state of war, Israeli and Lebanese military officials meet regularly to discuss border issues in the company of the U.N. peacekeeping force UNIFIL.

The sources said Metulla farmers have come under sniper fire in the past and frequently have stones hurled at them from the Lebanese side.

The 49-mile border is decorated with flags of the Shiite militant group Hezbollah, with whom Israel fought a war in 2006, and portraits of its leader, Hassan Nasrallah.

The Israel Defense Forces confirmed in a statement that it was looking at ways to beef up border security. UNIFIL spokesman Neeraj Singh said the subject was under discussion.

Israel’s daily newspaper Yediot Achronot reported that the planned wall would be 16 feet high and incorporate electronic detection devices. If approved, the project would begin within weeks.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Jan. 1 that he planned to strengthen barriers along the country’s border with Jordan with a new fence costing $166 million.

Israel currently is erecting a security barrier along its border with Egypt’s Sinai peninsula. — ap