United Nations force confirms presence of tunnel on Lebanon-Israel border

Blanche Robertson
December 7, 2018

"Yesterday morning, workers were still arriving to work on the tunnels, but as soon as the operation was publicized, they fled from all the digging sites", he added.

"We are aware of additional tunnels", he said.

Israeli forces did not enter Lebanese territory.

The IDF Northern Command has intelligence regarding roughly a dozen tunnels along the border with Lebanon, which they assume to be all of them, the officer explained.

Operation Northern Shield was launched earlier this week due to the fear that the details of the operation would be leaked and revealed to Hezbollah, the senior official went on.

"Therefore he made a defensive engineering event into a dramatic military operation", she said, giving two possible reasons for such a move.

The IDF asked UNIFIL to "neutralize" Hezbollah attack tunnels after it announced on Thursday that it had uncovered a second underground passageway, which originated from the southern Lebanese village of Ramya and extended into Israeli territory.

Also on Thursday, the Jerusalem Post quoted another official saying that Russian Federation has deployed forces on the Syrian-Lebanese border with the aim of preventing the transfer of weapons and precision-guided technology to Hezbollah.

Hezbollah had hoped by now to have converted thousands of missiles out of an estimated 140,000, the source said.

The Israeli military conducted operations to destroy the tunnels earlier this week, shortly after Secretary of State Mike Pompeo held a one-on-one meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on the sidelines of a North Atlantic Treaty Organisation meeting in Brussels.

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"I told the ambassadors that they need to unequivocally condemn this aggression against us by Iran, by Hezbollah and by Hamas, and of course, to also strengthen the sanctions against these elements", Netanyahu said.

The confirmation by the United Nations came a day after Lebanon said Israel presented no evidence to prove its claims of a network of attack tunnels allegedly built by Hezbollah.

"We are denying our enemies the weapon of tunnels systematically and decisively", he told the ambassadors.

In just the past several weeks, Iran has test-fired nuclear-capable intermediate-range ballistic missiles-capable of reaching both Israel and Europe-and also continued to harass USA naval assets in the Strait of Hormuz, a critical shipping lane.

"Anyone who attacks us - is taking his life into his hands", Netanyahu portended, later suggesting that Israel may take action against Lebanon, which he demanded "stop granting permission to use its territory for these attacks on Israel". "Hezbollah knows this and Hamas knows that too".

"We are not now in a situation where our soldiers are behind enemy lines".

In a statement, the Lebanese army called Israeli reports of tunnels across the border "allegations".

"The governments who are still in the [nuclear deal], yes, we have a disagreement over the efficacy of the Iran nuclear deal and we think it's a deficient deal that needs to be replaced by a new and better deal", Hook said.

"The digging of the cross-border attack tunnels that the IDF has discovered, before the attack tunnels became operational and posed an imminent threat to the safety of Israeli civilians, constitutes a flagrant and severe violation of Israeli sovereignty", the army said in a statement.

The operation is part of Israel's wider campaign against Hezbollah, including actions to tackle the group's weapons facilities.

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