Israel military moves to 'expose and thwart' Hezbollah tunnels from Lebanon

Israel military moves to 'expose and thwart' Hezbollah tunnels from Lebanon

Israel military moves to 'expose and thwart' Hezbollah tunnels from Lebanon

US backup: Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu met US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo during a short visit to Brussels on Monday.

Israel said on Tuesday it had launched an operation to "expose and thwart" cross-border attack tunnels from Lebanon dug by the Iran-backed Lebanese movement Hezbollah.

"This morning the IDF began Operation Northern Shield, the goal of which is to uncover and neutralize terrorist tunnels from Lebanon", Netanyahu said, Breaking Israel News reported. Had the tunnels not been detected, Radwan terror cells could have made their way through the tunnels, underneath Israel's extensive border defenses (which include an array of sensors, an above-ground barrier, and artificial cliffs), and entered northern Israel.

The military said the tunnels were not now being used by militants and that its work to find and neutralize them was taking place inside Israeli territory.

Israel has been using earthmovers and other large machinery to build a massive wall along its northern border, saying the barrier is needed to protect civilians from Hezbollah attacks.

Netanyahu said he had planned to discuss with Pompeo "steps we are taking together to block the aggression of Iran and its proxies in the north", referring to Syria and Lebanon. "Hamas uses the tunnels for tactical operations".

He said the military "holds the Lebanese government responsible for all activities perpetrated in Lebanon towards Israel".

"The tunnel extended from under a home in southern Lebanon, extending 600 feet through solid rock and penetrating into Israel", the report said.

The IDF said earlier that it had uncovered the "first of sure to be many" subterranean attack tunnels.

The IDF said that the tunnels were not complete and did not pose an immediate threat, but that they did stretch into Israeli territory.

"He's half the Israeli government, practically", Kiriakou commented on what is considered to be the "one genuine democracy in the Middle East" by outgoing US Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley.

The United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) said the situation in its area of operation "remains calm" and it is coordinating with relevant parties to maintain this stability. Today, it's all southern Lebanon, it's all Hezbollah, it's all pictures of Netanyahu with his senior security staff, with the generals and so-forth.

It said the army had "enhanced its presence and readiness" and was prepared for "various scenarios".

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".

Netanyahu has pledged to stop Iran from entrenching itself militarily in Syria and to keep it from transferring advanced weapons to its ally Hezbollah in Lebanon.

Why are Israel and Hezbollah enemies?

Israel has also reportedly carried out killings against Hezbollah figures.

Neither side appears interested in another full-fledged confrontation like the 2006 war, but any skirmish could spark an all-out conflict.

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