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Why did a Lebanese boy’s chicken cross the Lebanon-Israel border?

Published: Updated:

A nine-year-old Lebanese boy’s chicken crossed the road to Israel, triggering panic among Israeli soldiers, who fired a round of warning shots on Tuesday as the fowl crossed the border between the two states still technically at war.

The child, Hussein Chartouni, from Meiss Al Jabal village in south of Lebanon, had just opened the cage behind his family’s house when the chicken jumped out suddenly and absconded toward the Lebanese-Israeli border.

Chartouni said he went to the cage with his brother to feed the chickens that they had bought the day before along with his father, according to a video posted by Lebanese journalist Ali Shoeib, who documented the incident.

“When I chased and wanted to grab the chicken and bring it, the frightened Israeli soldiers opened fire in the air. I didn’t feel scared because I wanted my chicken. They [Israelis] took the chicken and never gave it back … I want it back,” Chartouni is heard as saying in Arabic.

The head of Meiss Al Jabal Municipality Abdul Moniem Choucair told Al Arabiya English that the incident happened around 8:30 a.m. when the boy opened the cage to feed the chicken.

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“[The chicken] reached the fence located nearly 70 meters away from boy’s house. Once it seemingly touched the fence, the Israeli soldiers were alarmed and shot a round of bullets in the air mistaking it for an infiltration attempt. This is an act of aggression and bullying,” said Choucair.

Recently Israel has been flying more drones and planes than usual over southern Lebanon and Beirut.

The UN peacekeeping forces in Lebanon [UNIFIL] that was established to safeguard the fragile truce between Lebanon and Israel, according to Choucair, should do their job and stop Israelis from constantly terrorizing villagers and famers especially those working in their own lands and properties.

He said the chicken hasn’t been returned yet.

Israeli surveillance in southern Lebanon – and even over the capital Beirut – is fairly common, but recently there have been more jets flying at a low altitude over Lebanon’s south.

Security incidents at the UN-demarcated Blue Line are relatively common between the two nations. In August, Israel’s armed forces launched air strikes against Iran-backed Hezbollah observation posts in Lebanon after shots were fired from the northern border into Israeli territory the day before.

A similar incident of animal infiltration occurred in May 2019 when a monkey called Tachtouch ran away from a farm in Al Qawzah village, crossed the border fence and found its way to northern Israel where it triggered panic among villagers.

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The monkey Tachtouch was reunited with his owner, a French nun, after 17 days when Israelis handed over the runaway monkey to UNIFIL officers to return him to his owner in the southern Naqoura area.

The runaway chicken incident prompted Twitter users to create a hashtag #بدي_دجاجتي: [I want my chicken] that trended in Lebanon shortly after the chicken crossed the border.