Israel launches operation to destroy Hezbollah tunnels

Cheryl Sanders
December 4, 2018

"The Hezbollah terror organization, which is responsible for digging the cross-border attack tunnels, continues activity that is supported and funded by Iran, to establish its terror infrastructure against Israeli civilians".

Israel's military said on Tuesday it was beginning an operation to "expose and thwart" cross-border attack tunnels from Lebanon dug by the Lebanese militia Hezbollah.

The military said the tunnels were not yet operational, but posed "an imminent threat" to Israeli civilians and constituted "a flagrant and severe violation of Israeli sovereignty".

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Israel launches operation to destroy Hezbollah tunnels

Conricus said that Hezbollah has been developing an offensive plan against Israel that would "shift the battleground into Israel".

The area around the Israeli town of Metula has been declared a closed military zone, with the army distributing images of heavy machinery digging into the ground.

However, the ministry instructed the Israeli mission to the United Nations to write to UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres in order to protest the "aggression from Lebanese territory", ministry spokesperson Emmanuel Nahshon said.

The tunnels, and the need for an operation to uncover and destroy them, was known to the Security Cabinet when it convened on November 13 and made a decision to accept a ceasefire with Hamas and not launch a larger offensive against the Gaza Strip following the firing of nearly 500 rockets into Israel.

The operation in the Meluta area will target an unspecified number of tunnels that were not ready to be used, said Lt. Col. Jonathan Conricus, a spokesman for the IDF, according to The Jerusalem Post.

The military is prepared for any escalation with Hezbollah that could stem from this operation.

As early as 2006, the IDF discovered that Hezbollah was building tunnels into its territory from Lebanon, an activity which only increased after the Second Lebanon War.

Hezbollah is also a powerful political party in Lebanon.

Since then, Hezbollah has become one of the main supporting actors in the war in Syria and tensions with Israel have remained high.

In September, the IDF unveiled eleven kilometers of what is planned to be a 130 kilometer defensive wall stretching the length of the Lebanon-Israel frontier, equipped with cameras in the hope of thwarting any attempt by its enemy Hezbollah to infiltrate and attack. With Syria's civil war winding down, Hezbollah is now free to re-establish itself back home in Lebanon and refocus on Israel.

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