Israel launches operation to destroy Hezbollah infiltration tunnels

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TEL VIV, Israel

 

Israel has launched an operation aimed to destroy Hezbollah tunnels infiltrating its territories, the army said.

The announcement comes hours after the country’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu met Mike Pompeo, the US Secretary of State in Brussels over regional dangers with both having warned Israel’s main rival Iran over its activities.

Israeli Army Spokesperson Lieutenant Colonel Jonathan Conricus said the attack tunnels are not yet operational and declined to mention how many have so far been detected and how they plan to destroy them.

He said: “We have launched Operation Northern Shield to expose and thwart cross-border attack tunnels dug by Hezbollah terror organisation from Lebanon into Israel,”

Conricus added that all operations will take place within Israeli territory, though he says, they risk a response from Hezbollah, the Shiite military group with which Israel fought a destructive war in 2006.

“There is no immediate threat to Israeli citizens,” Conricus said of the Lebanese front, noting that while the army has enhanced its presence in the north, it has not summoned reserve soldiers.

He said the military “holds the Lebanese government responsible for all activities perpetrated in Lebanon towards Israel.”

Conricus also added that the tunnels are part of Hezbollah’s 2012 plan to shift the battlefield to Israel and conquer the Galilee n a future conflict by infiltrating its territory.

In 2013, he says, the army acted on reports that the military group was digging tunnels, but failed to locate any.