Wednesday, 19 December, 2018

Israel to expose Hezbollah attack tunnels from Lebanon

Israel launches military operation against 'Hezbollah tunnels' Israel launches operation to thwart Hizbollah tunnels from Lebanon
Andrew Cummings | 05 December, 2018, 02:06

Israeli military spokesperson Lieutenant Colonel Jonathan Conricus told Reuters news agency that the operation would only take place on Israel's side of the border and that it would not extend into Lebanon.

"More broadly, we call on Iran and all of its agents to stop their regional aggression and provocation, which pose an unacceptable threat to Israeli and regional security", Bolton said.

Israel today launched an attack on Lebanon in a bid to destroy what it claims are Hezbollah tunnels channelled under the Israel-Lebanon border. He declined to say how many were detected, when they reached Israeli territory and how they would be destroyed.

The military said the tunnels were not now being used by militants and that its work to find and neutralize them was taking place inside Israeli territory.

Israel's vulnerability to tunnels was laid bare during its war with Palestinian militant group Hamas in Gaza in 2014 when Palestinian militants used dozens of secret passages dug from Gaza into Israel to launch surprise attacks.

The attack tunnels have always been rumored to have been dug from southern Lebanon into Israeli territory by the Iran backed terror group, but Israeli defense officials repeatedly either denied their existence or refused to discuss it.

Hezbollah has not responded to the military operation yet.

"The situation in UNIFIL's area of operation remains calm", Malene Jensen, a spokeswoman for the United Nations mission which monitors the border region, said in a statement.

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An Israeli military digger works on the border with Lebanon in Metula on Tuesday.

What's next: Nasrallah is expected to give a speech in Lebanon this evening in response to the Israeli operation.

But Israel often criticizes what it says is UNIFIL's failure to fulfill its mandate to see the disarmament and containment of Hezbollah.

It said the army had "enhanced its presence and readiness" and was prepared for "various scenarios". Israel's border with Lebanon has been relatively quiet in the years since, but Israel has continued to identify the Shiite militant group and its expanding weapons cache of tens of thousands of rockets as a major threat.

Israel has long warned that Hezbollah planned to conduct cross-border raids in any future conflict, with the specific goal of attacking and conquering a civilian town near the border. He took over the defense portfolio from his resigning minister and promised to pursue a hard line against Israel's enemies during what he described as a "complex" security situation.

Hezbollah meanwhile has also been distracted by the war in Syria, where it has fought fiercely alongside Assad's troops.

Neither side appears interested quite yet in another full-fledged confrontation like the 2006 war, but any skirmish could spark an all-out conflict along the tense border.

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