Israel fired warning shots towards Lebanon yesterday after a chicken crossed the border.
Nine-year-old Hussein Chartouni from the southern village of Meiss Al-Jabal chased his frightened fowl towards the border, triggering panic among Israeli soldiers who fired a round of warning shots.
Israel and Lebanon are still technically at war and tensions frequently flare along the shared border.
In a video that was shared widely on Twitter, Chartouni explains how his father had purchased four chickens, two for the nine-year-old and two for his brother, the day before the incident.
When the brothers opened the hutch to feed the chickens the next morning, one of Hussein’s birds made a break for it.
The chicken ran nearly 70 metres from Chartouni’s house towards a fence guarded by Israeli soldiers.
Speaking in Arabic in the video, Chartouni explains: “I went to catch my chicken, but from their fear, the Israeli started to shoot at the sky and the wind.”
“I wasn’t scared because I wanted my chicken. They [Israelis] took the chicken and never gave it back… I want it back.”
It was not immediately clear if the chicken had been returned to Chartouni.
However, videos and pictures later surfaced on social media showing the nine-year-old receiving new chickens from an unnamed benefactor.
An Arabic hashtag meaning “I want my chicken” trended on Twitter yesterday, briefly turning Chartouni into a national hero.
One user, Sara Haj, wrote: “Hussein is an example of what south Lebanon stands for against the Zionist invaders of our lands.”
Adding in a second tweet: “I feel like calling the Zionist army “the army of chickens” but I’ll refrain out of respect to Hussein’s kidnapped chicken. Glory your bravery habibi Hussein!”
Others simply demanded Israel return the young boy’s chicken.
A similar incident took place in 2019 when a monkey called Tachtouch crossed the border into northern Israel from a farm in the Lebanese village of Al-Qawzah.
Tachtouch was returned to his owner after 17 days when Israeli soldiers caught the monkey and handed him over to United Nations (UN) peacekeeping forces, UNIFIL.
The village of Meiss Al-Jabal sits approximately two kilometres from the UN demarcated Blue Line separating Israel and Lebanon.
UNIFIL patrols the area, but tensions are frequently high in the region.