(Al-Akhbar): Israeli soldiers on Tuesday kidnapped two shepherds from a southern Lebanese village near the occupied Shebaa Farms, a UN official said.
“We were informed that two shepherds were apprehended by [Israel's army] in the Shebaa area. The [UNIFIL] force commander is following up on this issue with all the parties … and is trying to secure their release,” Andrea Tenenti, spokesperson for the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon, told Al-Akhbar.
He said the Israeli army confirmed to UNIFIL that the two shepherds, identified by the National News Agency as Youssef Hussein Rahil and Youssef Mohammed Zahra, are in Israeli custody.
Israel’s motivation for targeting the two men remains unclear. It also wasn’t immediately known if Youssef Mohammed Zahra was the same shepherd as an 18-year-old with the same name who was abducted by Israeli troops one year ago.
“We don’t know what happened at this stage,” Tenenti said. “There is an ongoing investigation.”
Israeli troops on 29 June 2012 kidnapped the teenage shepherd in the Shebaa Farms area before releasing him the next day.
Israel has occupied Lebanon’s Shebaa Farms region since 1967.