x

Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 18 January 2019

Israel says it has found all of Hezbollah's cross-border tunnels

The military said it discovered the sixth and final tunnel dug by militants for attacks

Israeli soldiers stand near the opening of a hole that leads to a tunnel the army says crosses from Lebanon to Israel, near Metula, Wednesday, Dec. 19, 2018. AP
Israeli soldiers stand near the opening of a hole that leads to a tunnel the army says crosses from Lebanon to Israel, near Metula, Wednesday, Dec. 19, 2018. AP

Israel has discovered what it says is the final tunnel dug by Lebanese Shiite militant group into its territory for cross-border attacks, the military said on Sunday.

Israel had launched “Operation Northern Shield” in December to find and destroy a network of tunnels dug by the Iran-backed militia that reached across its border and presented a security threat.

The final tunnel was the largest one discovered so far, running hundreds of metres from under a Lebanese home and deep into Israeli territory, military spokesman Lt Col Jonathan Conricus said.

He said the latest tunnel originated from the Lebanese border town of Ramyeh.

The tunnel would be destroyed in the coming days, Mr Conricus said, adding that while more tunnels still existed on the Lebanese side of the border, this effectively marked the end of the ambitious military operation.

"We have achieved the goal that we set out to achieve a month and a half ago," he said. "According to our intelligence, there are no longer any cross-border attack tunnels into Israel."

_____________

Read more:

Lebanese workers strike over political stalemate

Lebanon's private sector ends 2018 on a grim note

Lebanon on brink of economic ruin, finance minister warns

_____________

Tensions remain high on the shared northern border and an assault by Hezbollah militants deep into Israel territory threatened to spark a new conflict between the warring sides. They last fought a war in 2006, which lasted one month and left 1,200 Lebanese and more than 160 Israeli soldiers dead.

Israel and the United Nations say the tunnels violate a cease-fire resolution that ended a devastating war between Israel and Hezbollah in 2006. Mr Conricus said the UN peacekeeping mission, known as Unifil, had been updated on the latest development.

Israel has long called for a crackdown on the Iran-backed Hezbollah, a heavily armed mini-army that is believed to possess an arsenal of some 150,000 rockets that can reach nearly all of Israel.

The military spokesman reiterated that Israel holds the Lebanese government accountable "for any act of violence or violation of 1701," the UN resolution that ended the 2006 war between Israel and Hezbollah.

In recent years, Hezbollah has been bogged down in fighting in Syria on behalf of Syrian President Bashar Assad's government. But Israeli officials fear that its experience in Syria has given it improved battlefield capabilities.

The highly publicised Israeli operation to expose and destroy the tunnels has gone ahead without drawing a military response from Hezbollah. Israel says all operations have taken place within its territory.

Updated: January 13, 2019 12:17 PM

SHARE

SHARE