Israel says army uncovered second Hezbollah tunnel during operation

09 Décembre, 2018, 04:07 | Auteur: Anatole Charbonneau

Israel's army said on Saturday it had located another tunnel crossing into its territory from Lebanon, the third such find since launching an operation to expose and destroy alleged Hezbollah "attack tunnels".

"The IDF has located an additional Hezbollah cross-border attack tunnel", spokesman Lieutenant Colonel Jonathan Conricus said, declining to give details on its precise location or dimensions.

"We placed explosives inside the tunnel to make sure it can not be used to infiltrate into Israel", Conricus told reporters, adding the tunnels were designed "to allow elite terrorists to enter Israel and to attack Israel civilians and Israeli targets".

It also said that Netanyahu and Putin agreed that mutual security teams will meet to discuss the threats and Israel's "Operation Northern Shield", as the operation to eradicate the tunnels is called. The resolution, which was overwhelmingly approved by both the Israeli and Lebanese governments, calls for the disarmament of "all armed" groups in Lebanon, and specifies that no armed forces other than the official Lebanese army and the United Nations peacekeeping force UNIFIL are permitted in southern Lebanon.

Following the army's announcement, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said that the operation to track the tunnels "is in its beginning".

"We'll continue to act till its completion", he said in a statement.

The IDF has booby-trapped the tunnel and anyone entering the tunnel from the Lebanese side is risking their life.

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Meanwhile, Israeli Intelligence Minister Yisrael Katz said on Friday that the Israeli military could extend its activities near the border with Lebanon into the Arab country.

Earlier on Saturday, the Israeli military fired at three Hezbollah suspects who approached the border where the army was working.

Conricus said the army believed the three individuals meant to take sensors the Israeli soldiers had placed in the ground as part of their efforts to uncover tunnels.

During their phone call, initiated by Netanyahu, "The President of Russian Federation stressed the importance of ensuring stability in the region", the Kremlin statement said.

Since the 2006 war, Israel has largely refrained from striking at Hezbollah on Lebanese soil, but it has carried out dozens of attacks in Syria against what it said were advanced weapons shipments to the Iranian-backed Shiite group. But the Israeli operation has brought renewed attention to a frontier across which Israel and Hezbollah last fought a war in 2006.

The relationship between Russia and Israel has been strained since September, when Russia accused Israel of indirectly causing the downing of a Russian military jet by Syrian air defenses following an Israeli airstrike nearby.

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