Israel launches operation to cut off Hezbollah infiltration tunnels

Israel launches military operation against 'Hezbollah tunnels'

However, a friendly fire incident in Syria in September that led to the downing of a Russian plane by Syrian air defences during an Israeli strike has complicated Israeli operations there.

Israel today launched an attack on Lebanon in a bid to destroy what it claims are Hezbollah tunnels channelled under the Israel-Lebanon border. "This activity is another example of the negative effects of Iranian entrenchment in the region".

The military did not disclose how many tunnels snake into Israeli territory from Lebanon or how long the operation would last.

Israeli drilling equipment is seen next to the border with Lebanon, near the Lebanese village of Kfar Kila, seen from the Israel's side December 4, 2018.

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.

IDF troops located a cross-border attack tunnel in the Lebanese southern area of Kafr Kela on Tuesday morning. He declined to say how many were detected or how they would be cut off.

Hezbollah has not responded to the military operation yet.

Since then, Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah has touted plans to take over parts of Galilee in northern Israel in a future conflict.

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It later published a photograph of a tunnel that it said it had uncovered. He did not explain why the operation to uncover the tunnels started now.

The surprise announcement came hours after Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu met with US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in Brussels over regional dangers, with both having repeatedly warned over the activities of Iran, Israel's main enemy. The two discussed ways to "work together to block Iranian aggression in the region". Its Al-Manar TV quoted Israeli media reports on the operation.

All operations would take place within Israeli territory, Conricus said, though they still raised the risk of a response from Hezbollah.

The Lebanese army is ready for any developments on the border with Israel making efforts together with the United Nations forces to maintain stability in the area, the army said in a statement. "The army command is ready to confront any emergency", it said. Manelis said the Lebanese Armed Forces is not capable of controlling what occurs in southern Lebanon.

The two fought an inconclusive, month-long war in 2006.

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.

Before his departure, Netanyahu hinted at the Israel operation. Northern residents have raised fears in recent years of attack tunnels being dug under the border, spurring the IDF to launch a task force to investigate the concerns in 2014.

"Iran backs Hezbollah, which Israel says has amassed thousands of rockets since 2006". With Syria's civil war winding down, Hezbollah is now free to return its focus to Israel.

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