Israel Launches Operation To Destroy Hezbollah Tunnels On Northern Border

Israel launches military operation against 'Hezbollah tunnels'

Just hours into the operation, the IDF revealed it had uncovered a Hezbollah attack tunnel running under Israel's border with Lebanon, built "with the intention of harming Israeli civilians", the Israeli Army said Tuesday.

One tunnel originated under a house in the Lebanese border village of Kfar Kila and crossed the frontier near Israel's northernmost town, Metula, the Israeli military said.

The Israeli military says it has launched an operation meant to "expose and thwart" tunnels built on the border by the Hezbollah militant group. The tunnels are proof, he added, that bolsters Israel's long-held opinion that Hezbollah's military strategy includes using civilian infrastructure.

"We are acting with determination to prevent Iran from being rooted in Syria. we are also acting against Iran's terrorist actions in Lebanon", he said.

"Hezbollah is a unsafe terror organization acting out of Lebanon under the orders of Tehran, and its goal is to inflict damage to Israel and to Israeli citizens".

No details were given about how detected tunnels would be put out of use.

Israel's Channel 10 News cited a Lebanese source saying Lebanese army units have been deployed along the border to monitor Israel's activities. A small explosion scared him away and the tunnel was later blown up with a more powerful blast.

Manelis underscored that the tunnels were not yet operational and have not yet become a threat to Israeli communities. "He is tilting at windmills in Lebanon in an attempt to evade it", the Hezbollah official said.

Malene Jensen, spokeswoman for the United Nations force in Lebanon known as UNIFIL, said the situation in the peacekeepers' "area of operation remains calm" and that they are in touch with all relevant parties to make sure calm and stability is maintained.

Hezbollah does not recognise Israel's right to exist and has been accused of carrying out a string of bombings and plots against Jewish and Israeli targets around the world over decades.

The military said in a statement it had "enhanced its presence and readiness in the Northern Command and is prepared for various scenarios".

Israel views the Iranian-backed Hezbollah and its vast weapons cache as a major threat.

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.

Yoav Kish, a member of Netanyahu's party and chairman of the Knesset's Internal Affairs Committee, said the latest operation proves that what was seen as the prime minister being "hesitant and weak" in Gaza was actually "restraint" that made the move in the north possible. Amid the crisis he took on the defense portfolio from his resigning minister and promised to pursue a hard line against Israel's enemies during what he described as a "complex" security situation.

Hezbollah meanwhile has also been distracted by the war in Syria, where it has fought fiercely alongside Assad's troops.

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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