Israel launches operation to cut off Hezbollah infiltration tunnels

04 December, 2018, 15:25 | Author: Carlos George
  • Israel launches military operation against 'Hezbollah tunnels'

Since 2014, an IDF joint-task force of the Intelligence Directorate and the Northern Command has been tackling the problem of Hamas terror tunnels, and in 2015 it began a project to improve the defense of the northern line, including exposing and cutting off the tunnels and constructing a seven-mile (11-kilometer) stone fence.

The Israeli army said on Tuesday it had detected Hezbollah tunnels infiltrating its territory from Lebanon and had launched an operation to cut them off. "Hezbollah's tunnel project is another example of the unsafe strengthening of Hezbollah that is funded, supported and directed by Iran", the Foreign Ministry said. Israel is committed to protect its citizens and its territory.

The resistance movement Hezbollah was formed following the Israeli regime's invasion of Lebanon and the ensuing occupation of its southern parts in the 1980s, and now constitutes Lebanon's de facto military power.

Why are Israel and Hezbollah enemies?

Last year, Hezbollah's leader said any future conflict with Israel could take place inside Israeli territory, and there would be "no place that is out of reach of the rockets of the resistance or the boots of the resistance fighters". The Shiite group would use firepower and "the surprise component" of terror tunnels to 'allow infiltrators into Israel.

Israel also faces terror tunnels in the south from the Hamas terror organization in Gaza. He did not explain why the operation was launched now.

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

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There was no immediate comment from Hezbollah and its Al-Manar TV did not make any mention of the Israeli operation. The area is a closed military zone with no civilians told to evauate.

The statement did not mention UNIFIL, the United Nations peacekeeping force also charged with keeping Hezbollah out of southern Lebanon.

On Monday, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu met U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in Brussels.

The statement accused Hezbollah of committing "a double war crime" as it operates from "within Lebanon's civilian population, in order to harm Israel's civilian population".

The operation comes weeks after Netanyahu faced a major crisis in his governing coalition over the handling of a cease-fire with Gaza militants.

Israel and Iran-backed Hezbollah last fought a war in 2006. Israel has also reportedly carried out killings against Hezbollah figures.

There has been increased attention in Israel in recent days over Israeli officials' concerns regarding Iranian activity in Lebanon.

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