Israel says it has completed hunt for Hezbollah tunnels from Lebanon

Marsha Scott
January 14, 2019

It says it has now found all Hezbollah tunnels on the Lebanon border.

Israel and the United Nations say the tunnels violate a ceasefire resolution made after a 2006 war between Israel and Hezbollah.

"According to our assessments, there are no longer any tunnels crossing into Israel", military spokesman Lieutenant-Colonel Jonathan Conricus said.

Ties between Israel and Lebanon further deteriorated after the IDF launched Operation Northern Shield in early December 2018, destroying suspected Hezbollah tunnels used to funnel militants and arms across the Israel-Lebanon border. He added that Hezbollah retained underground facilities on the Lebanese side. While they have at times traded blows within Syria and the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights, the Israel-Lebanon border has mostly been quiet.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netenyahu said the country has been taking action with impressive success to arrest Iran's military entrenchment in Syria. Israel reported the tunnel's discovery to UNIFIL, the United Nations observer force responsible for ensuring that southern Lebanon remains free of hostile forces.

Israel alleges Hezbollah had planned to use the tunnels to kidnap or kill its civilians or soldiers, and to seize a slice of Israeli territory in the event of any hostilities. He said this was part of a Hezbollah plan to send as many as 1,500 fighters to infiltrate Israeli border communities during any future war.

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It has said, however, that they were not yet operational.

But with that civil war winding down, Israeli security officials fear Hezbollah is refocusing its attention on Israel.

The attack which took place at 11:15 p.m.(2115 GMT), was the second in less than three weeks.

The announcement that the operation is ending comes as military chief of staff Gadi Eisenkot steps down at the end of his term.

Neither Lebanon nor Hezbollah has commented directly on the end of the operation. It said it holds the Lebanese government responsible for everything happening in its territory.

Other reports by MaliBehiribAe

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