Netanyahu expresses pride as IDF uncovers first tunnel in Operation Northern Shield

05 December, 2018, 16:03 | Author: Emmett Rice
  • An Israeli rocket fired at a Hezbollah target during the Second Lebanon War in 2006. Credit Haim Azulay  Flash90

The remarks came hours after the Israeli army launched an operation along Lebanon's border under the pretext of "cutting off" what it claims are Hezbollah tunnels near the occupied territories.

"These cross-border terror tunnels were built by Hezbollah with direct support and funding from Iran".

"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.

The Israel Defense Forces announced the discovery of the tunnels and began destroying them on Monday night.

The tunnels are concentrated in the area around Metula, a small Israeli town of around 1,000 people nestled against the border with Lebanon.

Lebanon's President Michel Aoun ordered his country's armed forces and security agencies to "closely monitor" Israel's operation against Hezbollah cross-border tunnels on Tuesday, as officials on both sides of the border sought to avoid escalation.

Manelis told Israeli media that the IDF has been planning for this operation "for a very long time".

Speaking to Lebanon's An-Nahar newspaper, an unnamed Hezbollah official compared Netanyahu to the fictional Don Quixote, who attacked imaginary enemies.

The military has used various means to collapse or fill in tunnels from the Gaza Strip.

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"The days when Israel could simply attack Lebanon are over, even though the initiative to attack is in Israel's hands", Hassan Hoballah, a member of Hezbollah's political bureau, said on Tuesday. "The army command is ready to confront any emergency", it said. While the barrier's construction has prompted complaints from the Lebanese army, Hezbollah has not responded - an indication it could remain restrained amid the new operation.

"Whoever tries to harm Israel's security will pay dearly", Netanyahu said in a statement.

The Lebanese-Israeli border was quiet Tuesday, hours after Israel announced an operation against what it said were Hezbollah infiltration tunnels, a United Nations peacekeeping force said.

Since the end of the 2006 war, Israeli forces have regularly violated Lebanon's sovereignty, with the regime's officials even threatening another offensive against the Arab country.

Over the course of that war, Israel has targeted alleged Syrian and Hezbollah arms convoys on multiple occasions in an attempt to block any Iranian efforts to transfer weapons to the group.

Israel appears increasingly concerned that Iran is attempting to transfer some of its military influence from Syria, where Russian Federation is the government's top ally, to Lebanon. Some observers argue that Hezbollah will have no justification for retaliation as long as the tunnels are only destroyed on the Israeli side of the border.

This picture taken on December 4, 2018, from the southern Lebanese village of Kfar Kila shows a view of Israeli machinery operating behind the border wall in Israel (R).

Additional IDF troops were deployed to northern Israel as a precaution against potential attacks by Hezbollah, but no reservists were called up.

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