The IDF confirmed on Wednesday that a Hezbollah terror tunnel discovered over the weekend crossed from southern Lebanon into Israel near the community of Zarit.
The tunnel, which was dug from the western area of the Shi’ite village of Ramiyah infiltrated several meters into Israeli territory and like the other tunnels had not be operational.According to the military, the tunnel was discovered by the joint task force of the Intelligence Directorate and the Northern Command known as “The Laboratory,” which used seismic listening devices as well as systematic monitoring of areas along the Blue Line that would allow Hezbollah to carry out their attack plan.The IDF noted that “a number of unusual instances were identified that suggested Hezbollah may try to implement their plans” in a forested area near Ramiyah and neighboring areas across the border in Israel such as a lone tree burnt discovered in May 2016, the “unusual movement” of rocks, and the creation of new man made trails.“Concentration of widespread efforts over the past few years by a variety of means – visual and technological – led to the exposure of the attack tunnel routes in Israeli territory,” read a statement by the IDF’s Spokesperson’s Unit.The military stressed that it “is under IDF control and does not pose an imminent threat and the heads of relevant local authorities have been notified and updated on the discovery.Like the others tunnels discovered, they have been filled with explosives ahead of their neutralization in order to prevent any possible use of it by Hezbollah terrorists.“The effort to expose and neutralize terrorist tunnels will continue as long as necessary,” read the statement by the IDF’s Spokesperson’s Unit.
IDF Chief of Staff Lt.-Gen. Gadi Eisenkot visited the Northern Command and toured the Galilee formation with the head of the northern command Maj.-Gen. Yoel Strick as well as the commander of the platoon, Brig.-Gen. Rafi Milo and other senior commanders.During the visit, they toured the border area and watched the work expose Hezbollah’s cross-border attack tunnels, as well as the readiness of the forces taking part in Operation Northern Shield.Israel holds the Lebanese government as responsible for the construction of the tunnels by Hezbollah from Lebanese territory. It also calls this a serious violation of Israeli sovereignty and of Resolution 1701 which ended the 2006 Second Lebanon War.Ahead of the UN Security Council meeting, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu accused Hezbollah of committing “a double war-crime” by hiding behind Lebanese civilians in order to attack Israeli civilians.He demanded that UN peacekeepers in Lebanon be granted “unrestrained access” to any area in southern Lebanon and should not be restricted in any way by Hezbollah or the Lebanese army which he said was either doing nothing “at best and colluding at worst.”“I demand that UNIFIL meet its mandate,” Netanyahu said, adding that the organization must “stand up for the truth and take the necessary action” by reporting any violations of Resolution 1701 to both Israel and the UN.
Israel, he added “has the right to defend itself against Iranian aggression,” and “will continue to take all the necessary action to protect our people and defend our borders.”