IDF launches operation to neutralize Hezbollah tunnels

Geraldine Edwards
December 5, 2018

"We see Hezbollah's actions as a flagrant and blatant violation of Israeli sovereignty", he said.

"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.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu hailed the early successes of the operation, and warned of a "heavy price" to be exacted from those who attempt to harm the State of Israel.

Israeli military spokesperson Lieutenant Colonel Jonathan Conricus claimed that that "a number of tunnels" had penetrated the Israeli-occupied territories.

Cold war: The Israeli army announced the discovery of the tunnels this morning and said it has already started destroying them. The tunnels are proof, he added, that bolsters Israel's long-held opinion that Hezbollah's military strategy includes using civilian infrastructure.

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Israel released video footage of digging and pile-driving equipment at work in unidentified locations, carrying out what it said were "tactical preparations to expose Hezbollah's offensive cross-border tunnel project".

Hezbollah has not responded to the military operation yet. A Lebanese army source said the situation was calm on its side of the border, as did United Nations peacekeepers operating there.

"The surprise component of that plan was supposed to be tunnels that would allow infiltrators into Israel", he said.

The operation was launched before dawn on Tuesday, with the army declaring some areas adjacent to the Lebanon border a closed military zone and deploying additional forces to the north. An Israeli military source said the operation might take weeks to complete.

Israeli officials have long warned the threat posed by Gaza's Hamas rulers pales in comparison to that of Lebanon's Iran-backed Hezbollah - a heavily-armed mini-army with valuable combat experience and an arsenal of some 150,000 rockets that can reach almost every part of Israel.

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Netanyahu is also facing further political pressure after Israeli police on Sunday recommended he and his wife Sara be indicted for bribery, the third such recommendation against the premier in recent months.

Israel, meanwhile, gave no special orders to residents of northern Israel, signalling that it too was not expecting an immediate response from Hezbollah.

A Syrian opposition figure familiar with the area said at the time of last week's reported attack that Israel had targeted the area because Syrian army barracks there had become a recruitment hub for Iran-backed forces.

Israel has long voiced concern about Iran's growing military presence along its northern border, warning of an Iranian corridor that could assist in the transfer of weapons to Hezbollah.

Israel also faces terror tunnels in the south from the Hamas terror organization in Gaza.

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