Israel Discovers Hezbollah Terror Tunnels, Launches Major Mission

Israel Discovers Hezbollah Terror Tunnels, Launches Major Mission

Netanyahu added that he mentioned the imposition of new sanctions against Hezbollah during his meeting on Monday with U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.

Israel's military said on Tuesday it was beginning an operation to "expose and thwart" cross-border attack tunnels from Lebanon dug by the Lebanese militia Hezbollah.

"The Hezbollah terror organization, which is responsible for digging the cross-border attack tunnels, continues its activity that is supported and funded by Iran, to establish its terror infrastructure against Israeli civilians", an IDF spokesperson said.

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.

Netanyahu said he discussed the operation with Pompeo and called the tunnels a violation of a United Nations truce resolution that ended a 2006 war between Israel and the Shiite militant group Hezbollah.

The military has used various means to collapse or fill in tunnels from the Gaza Strip.

Israel said the Iranian-backed Shia militant group had been building the tunnels so its forces could infiltrate into the Jewish state from southern Lebanon. "In a matter of minutes, the small device is replaced by a larger bomb that prevents operational use inside other tunnels", Manelis explained.

The military is destroying the tunnels from Israel's side of the border.

"Whoever tries to harm Israel's security will pay dearly", Netanyahu said in a statement.

"I have a message for the people of Lebanon: Hezbollah is putting your lives in danger", said Netanyahu.

Suggesting the military operation had been long-planned, the newspaper also said military censors had recently imposed "heavy restrictions" that limited its ability to report on the IDF's plan to destroy the tunnels.

It later published a photograph of a tunnel that it said it had uncovered.

Additionally, the Lebanese army command said that it is watching the situation closely, reiterating its readiness to confront any emergency situation.

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

His comments were seen by some at the time as an attempt to save his government, with polls showing wide disapproval among the Israeli public of his handling of the Gaza flare-up in November. Israel's border with Lebanon has been relatively quiet in the years since, but Israel has continued to identify the Shiite militant group and its expanding weapons cache of tens of thousands of rockets as a major threat.

Israel has carried out hundreds of air strikes in Syria against what it says are Iranian military targets and deliveries of advanced arms to Hezbollah.

Why are Israel and Hezbollah enemies?

The official also noted that Hezbollah's course of action will depend on developments in the field.

Neither side appears interested quite yet in another full-fledged confrontation like the 2006 war, but any skirmish could spark an all-out conflict along the tense border.

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