The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) launched an operation last night to destroy numerous cross-border attack tunnels that it said were dug by the Iran-backed terror group Hezbollah, into northern Israel from Lebanon.
The IDF says it launched Operation ‘Northern Shield’ to “expose, thwart and neutralise cross-border attack tunnels within Israel’s territory, dug by the terror organization Hezbollah from Lebanon into Israel”.
The IDF add that this joins the IDF’s defensive plan along the northern border, including the construction of a defensive wall, called the “Defensive Obstacle Project”.
IDF spokesperson Lt. Col. Jonathan Conricus said: “We see Hezbollah’s actions as a flagrant and blatant violation of Israeli sovereignty”. The IDF say that they launched the operation to destroy the attack tunnels before they became operational.
The military said it believed these tunnels were for offensive purposes, unlike the tunnels and underground bunkers used by Hezbollah during the 2006 Second Lebanon War, which were primarily used for its defensive strategies.
Hezbollah’s construction of the attack tunnels breaches UNSCR resolution 1701 (2006), which explicitly called for disarming southern Lebanon and forbade the transfer of weapons to any non-military groups.
Tensions on Israel’s northern border have increased in recent days, and Hezbollah is believed to have amassed an arsenal of 150,000 rockets and missiles – 10 times what it had in the 2006 Second Lebanon War. According to IDF estimates, the weapons have been embedded into village throughout southern Lebanon.
The IDF state that Israel is not interested in any escalation on the Lebanon border, but the IDF has enhanced its presence on the northern border and is prepared for various scenarios”.
Iranian-backed Shi’a terror group Hezbollah operate from Lebanon where they have de facto control of the government and boast the country’s largest military infrastructure.