(Communicated by the IDF Spokesman)
This morning at 10:30 a.m. the IDF was contacted by the Australian embassy in Israel to facilitate the safe passage of a convoy of foreign nationals and journalists from Tyre to the village of Yarun. The convoy was traveling to pick up foreign nationals in southern Lebanon and bring them to Tyre.
The IDF was unable to coordinate the passage of the convoy for today due to the lack of advance notice. The IDF requested that the convoy not leave and coordinate a later time for its travel, noting that there was combat in the area and that it was dangerous to travel.
Despite the warning, and the request of the IDF not to depart, the convoy left Tyre and began to make its way southward towards Nakura, from where they planned to head east towards Remish and Yarun, near the city of Bint Jbeil, where heavy fighting continues.
A representative from the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs contacted the Australian embassy in Israel and made clear that the IDF would not be able to ensure the safety of the convoy and requested from the Ambassador urge the convoy to return.
In addition, the IDF Northern Command contacted the U.N. and requested that they also warn the convoy not to advance further as they were headed into an area of heavy fighting, putting themselves and those traveling with them at great risk.
The convoy, however, continued to advance, reaching the village of Remish, at which point the Australian Embassy was contacted again and was again urged to warn the convoy. After leaving Remish, the convoy turned around and in the area of Nekura an apparent mortar hit the ground near the vehicles. Despite claims in the media, there is no indication that this was IDF fire.
Two men were lightly injured and one of the vehicles apparently accidentally veered off the route, injuring two youths who were inside.
The IDF vehemently denies that the convoy was in any way targeted and stresses that all available channels were utilized to warn those leading the convoy that they were placing themselves and the forces operating in that area at great risk by traveling without any coordination. It should be noted that other convoys had coordinated their travel with the IDF in advance traveled along that very route yesterday and the day before without any incident taking place.
The IDF will continue to make every effort to assist and facilitate the passage of convoys evacuating foreign and Lebanese civilians from areas of combat in Southern Lebanon and humanitarian convoys transporting aid to these areas.