Published: Fri, December 07, 2018
Global News | By Blake Casey

United Nations peacekeepers confirm Israeli report of tunnel at Lebanon border

United Nations peacekeepers confirm Israeli report of tunnel at Lebanon border

The IDF's decision to launch Operation Northern Shield to neutralize Hezbollah terror tunnels this week stemmed from a growing fear the underground infrastructure would be used by terrorists to carry out attacks against IDF patrols in the area, according to a senior commander of the 91st Galilee Division. According to the outlet, people involved believed that it was routine training as the preparations for Operation Northern Shield, announced on 4 December, were kept secret.

Other reports said that Hezbollah was also deploying ‎short-range, Iranian-made projectiles in southern ‎Lebanon, adding that the group has blocked ‎dozens of roads in the area to allow the convoy ‎smooth transport. Lebanon says Israel, too, regularly violated its air, sea and land spaces.

"Hezbollah is putting your lives in danger because of digging tunnels", said the Arabic audio message, which appeared to have been sent by Israel.

He also denounced Israel's encroachment on the Lebanese telecommunications network by sending recorded messages to the residents of Kfar Kila. We encountered such tunnels in the Second Lebanon War.

Netanyahu noted that Israel had demanded the convening of a UN Security Council meeting on the matter, which he called an "important political and diplomatic step that complements our operational and engineering effort to deny Hezbollah and Iran the tunnels weapon".

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu spoke with UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres on Wednesday to update him on the details of a military operation that will destroy cross-border tunnels between Israel and Lebanon, according to a statement released by his office. Netanyahu also said he hopes the global community imposes increased sanctions on Hezbollah in response to Israel's exposure of the tunnels.

He confidently asserted that when Israel is done with the tunnels, they "will no longer exist and will no longer be effective".

Hezbollah has not directly responded to the Israeli allegations or its military operation.

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Israel has been building a wall along its border with Lebanon to prevent such an attack.

Hariri said the issue would be taken up with both UN General Secretariat and Security Council, but stressed his government's "commitment to the full obligations of Resolution 1701 and to the ongoing coordination and cooperation between Lebanese authorities and United Nations forces".

Lebanon's Parliament speaker said Wednesday that Israel has presented no evidence to prove its claims that a network of attack tunnels has been built by Hezbollah across the countries' shared borders, as Israel's prime minister pressed for global condemnation of the militant group.

The peacekeepers, the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL), confirmed the existence of a tunnel near the "blue line" frontier between the two countries in a statement on Thursday, describing it as a "serious occurrence".

Israeli forces did not enter Lebanese territory.

"UNIFIL should expand its role, because evidently it's not been done".

The UN and European Union have condemned Hezbollah's actions and expressed support for Operation Northern Shield.

"We were debating when to uncover the tunnel", explained the senior officer. "If you pass the first 24 or 48 hours, and we are there, without an escalation, I think the risk is much lower", Netanyahu said.

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