Israel Launches Operation to Cut off 'Hizbullah Border Tunnels'

Israel Launches Operation to Cut off 'Hizbullah Border Tunnels'

Israel Launches Operation to Cut off 'Hizbullah Border Tunnels'

Israel's vulnerability to tunnels was laid bare during its war with Palestinian militant group Hamas in Gaza in 2014 when Palestinian militants used dozens of secret passages dug from Gaza into Israel to launch surprise attacks.

A Hezbollah-affiliated news outlet released a number of photographs of Israeli troops and engineering vehicles along the border, apparently taking part in the newly launched operation to destroy the Lebanese terror group's cross-border attack tunnels.

Israel and Iran-backed Hezbollah last fought a war in 2006.

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.

On Sunday night, the US State Dept. issued a statement following Secretary Pompeo's meeting with Prime Minister Netanyahu, saying "the Secretary emphasized the United States' commitment to Israel's security and absolute right to self-defense and to fighting anti-Israeli bias at the United Nations".

"In 2012, we identified the "Conquering the Galilee" plan (Hezbollah leader) Nasrallah has been talking about, and it includes a surprising component of offensive tunnels".

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

The IDF said that the tunnel was equipped with electrical and communication lines and would have taken some two years to build, likely due to the harsh terrain along the border.

Israeli drilling equipment is seen next to the border with Lebanon near the Lebanese village of Kfar Kila seen from the Israel’s side
Israel launches operation to thwart Hezbollah border tunnels

Israel's security cabinet was set to convene to discuss the situation in the north at the defense ministry's headquarters in Tel Aviv at 7:30 p.m. local time, as the IDF said it was preparing for a "protracted" operation at the Lebanese border.

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

Lieberman's resignation threatened to provoke early elections, but Netanyahu held his coalition together and is now clinging to a one-seat majority in parliament.

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 has also long warned that it believes Hezbollah intends to conduct cross-border raids in any future conflict with Israel, establishing a special forces unit - known as the Radwan Unit - with the specific goal of capturing an Israeli village near the border.

Since the start of that war, more than 200 strikes were carried out by Israel according to its military.

The operation could take weeks, an Israeli military source said.

Russian Federation subsequently upgraded Syrian air defences with the delivery of the advanced S-300 system, which Damascus had said last month would make Israel "think carefully" before carrying out further air raids.

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