United Nations peacekeepers confirm Israeli report of tunnel at Lebanon border

JOSEPH EID

Israel launches military operation to destroy 'cross-border terror tunnels'

"Azaladin" who is in his 30's, has a PhD in mechanical engineering from Tehran's University of Technology and is married with two children.

"Is Terrorist Hezbollah's digging of the tunnels under Lebanon's border not a flagrant threat to Lebanon's stability, which it shares responsibility for?"

The Israeli military Tuesday launched an open-ended operation to destroy what it said was a network of tunnels built by Hezbollah aimed at infiltrating northern Israel.

The tunnel originated under a residential building in the southern Lebanese village of Ramieh.

In an exclusive interview with The Israel Project, Michael Mazeika, a five-year resident of Metulla, said that the northern city, on the border with Lebanon, is a "beautiful place" to live, but, with the news of recently discovered tunnels dug by Hezbollah, facing a "terrible reality".

"The Hezbollah terror organization, which is responsible for digging the crossborder attack tunnels, continues its activity that is supported and funded by Iran, to establish its terror infrastructure against Israeli civilians".

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According to the IDF, Operation Northern Shield is intended "to expose and neutralize cross-border attack tunnels" that are being "dug by Hezbollah from Lebanon to Israel". The goal of the unit is reportedly to capture territory inside of Israel in order to be able to declare a victory.

"We caught Hezbollah unprepared for this event", said the officer, "[Hezbollah Secretary-General Hassan] Nasrallah is very embarrassed.

Never remiss in raising the ultimate foe, Iran, he hailed Israel's great efforts as the single army in the world to take it on.

"We are not now in a situation where our soldiers are behind enemy lines".

Sen. Ted Cruz (R., Texas) said the tunnels show Iran used money from sanctions lifted under the Obama administration for military purposes.

IDF Northern Command chief Maj.

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"The Israelis have clearly been planning this for months, which means that Hezbollah must have been working on these tunnels for years before they were detected and Israel planned its response", said one senior US official who works on Israel issues but was not authorized to speak on the record about the tense situation.

Strik also requested that UNIFIL will ensure the neutralization of the attack tunnel on its Lebanese side.

Strik also presented UNIFIL a map with the location of a second tunnel, along with houses in Lebanon that Israel says are connected to the tunnel.

The Israeli military conducted operations to destroy the tunnels earlier this week, shortly after Secretary of State Mike Pompeo held a one-on-one meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on the sidelines of a North Atlantic Treaty Organisation meeting in Brussels.

The Lebanese army added that it remained in contact both with Israel and Hezbollah to help de-escalate tensions and prevent any confrontation.

UNIFIL Head of Mission and Force Commander Stefano Del Col, along with a technical team, on Thursday visited a location near Metulla in northern Israel where the Israeli army "has discovered a tunnel close to the Blue Line", the United Nations force said in a statement.

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