United Nations peacekeepers confirm Israeli report of tunnel at Lebanon border

Elias Hubbard
December 7, 2018

Unlike many other news organizations, we have not put up a paywall. We want to keep our journalism open and accessible and be able to keep providing you with news and analyses from the frontlines of Israel, the Middle East and the Jewish World.

"What we're facing is one big enemy".

The public identification of Iran isn't likely to surprise global observers, but signals aggressive moves by the Trump administration to tie Iran to the rise of terrorism not just in Israel, but across the Middle East, where Iranian-backed militants continue to strike USA interests and allies.

According to senior officials in the Northern Command, Hezbollah's plan for the next war with Israel involved infiltrating Israeli territory through the tunnels, ambush the IDF forces that would be sent to the area, paralyze Route 90 leading to the city of Metula and isolate the area so the main Hezbollah force could invade unopposed from Lebanon.

According to a senior IDF officer, the operation, which is expected to last several weeks, has caught Hezbollah off guard and has very much embarrassed the Shi'ite militia.

"There is a major chance that we will act on the territory of Lebanon in the course of the "Northern Shield" operation to detect and eliminate Hezbollah's tunnels, which cross the Israeli border", he said.

The U.N. mission, known as UNIFIL, said its regular weekly meeting with the Lebanese and Israeli armies discussed Israel's "activities" searching for suspected tunnels. He said Israel demanded that UNIFIL investigate and "neutralize" the shaft of the tunnel.

"Based on the site inspection, UNIFIL can confirm the existence of a tunnel at the location", Stephane Dujarric, the spokesperson for UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres, told reporters in NY.

Multiple Launch Rocket System is near the Northen Israeli kibbutz of Yiftah near the border with Lebanon Dec. 5 2018
Jalaa Marey AFP Getty Images

UNIFIL said it is "engaged with the parties to pursue urgent follow-up action" and "will communicate its preliminary findings to the appropriate authorities in Lebanon".

Sen. Ted Cruz (R., Texas) said the tunnels show Iran used money from sanctions lifted under the Obama administration for military purposes. Israel protests these clear violations of UN Security Council Resolution 1701, which forbids such territorial violations, Strik said.

"The digging of the cross-border attack tunnels that the IDF has discovered, before the attack tunnels became operational and posed an imminent threat to the safety of Israeli civilians, constitutes a flagrant and severe violation of Israeli sovereignty", the army said in a statement.

"We are not now in a situation where our soldiers are behind enemy lines", said Livni, who served as foreign minister during Israel's 2006 war with Hezbollah.

Israeli forces did not enter Lebanese territory.

"I think it's a matter of human logic that it [Resolution 1701] applies in the sky".

He added that the decision to launch Operation Northern Shield earlier this week was out of concern that details of the operation would be leaked to Hezbollah.

"Israel has the right to safeguard security of its citizens & territory". The army units deployed in the area are fulfilling their tasks in coordination with UNIFIL in order to prevent any provocation and maintain stability in the southern region.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

Discuss This Article

FOLLOW OUR NEWSPAPER