Israel Defense Forces (IDF) spokesman Jonathan Conricus has said that the operation aimed at destroying tunnels dug by the Lebanese Hezbollah movement along the UN ‘blue line’ separating Lebanon and Israel continues and may take several more weeks.
“Operation Northern Shield is ongoing. According to our estimates, several weeks remain before its completion,” Conricus said at a briefing for foreign reporters.
This comes after Thursdays the Israeli Defense Forces fighters detected a 5th tunnel attack by the Lebanese terrorist group Hezbollah, which was excavated from the Shiite village of Ayta ash Shab and penetrates the Israeli territory. The tunnel was neutralized by an explosion. It is the fifth “tunnel of terror” that has been detected on the border with Lebanon since “Operation Northern Shield ” which began on December 4.
The IDF added in the announcement that they have notified the relevant local authorities and the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL).
The military spokesman added that “the IDF holds the Lebanese Government responsible for the attack tunnel dug from Lebanese territory and for the consequences of this violation. This is another blatant violation of UN Resolution 1701 and of Israeli sovereignty. The IDF continues its operational efforts to expose and neutralize the attack tunnels as planned. ”
Israel and Lebanon last clashed in 2006, with Israeli forces invading the country after Hezbollah kidnapped two Israeli soldiers in a cross-border raid. The conflict, which lasted 34 days and claimed the lives of over 1,300 people, was halted by a UN-brokered ceasefire. Lebanese-Israeli relations have been poor for decades, but tensions have been exacerbated recently amid Israeli suspicions that Hezbollah was being used by Iran as a proxy to wage war on Israel.