Israel targets Hezbollah 'terror tunnels'


He also said the operation was launched shortly after Netanyahu's meeting with US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in the Belgian capital, stressing that the embattled prime minister had been in Brussels to ask Pompeo for help.

Operation Northern Shield will "expose and neutralize cross-border attack tunnels dug by Hezbollah from Lebanon to Israel", Israel Defense Forces said in a post on Twitter. He declined to say how many were detected or how they would be cut off.

Netanyahu said he discussed the operation with Pompeo and called the tunnels a violation of a United Nations resolution aimed at ending a 2006 war between Israel and Shiite militant group Hezbollah. "We will continue to do all that is necessary to defend ourselves against Iran's efforts to use Lebanon, Syria and Gaza as forward terror bases to attack Israel". Netanyahu's office said the two discussed "how we can together curb Iran's aggression in the region", including in Lebanon, and that the Israeli leader updated Pompeo on the operation.

The IDF believes Hezbollah has between 100,000 and 120,000 short-range missiles and rockets, as well as several hundred longer-range missiles, and that Iran has been instrumental in establishing underground factories in southern Lebanon where many of these missiles are enhanced with Global Positioning System guides to improve their accuracy. "In a matter of minutes, the small device is replaced by a larger bomb that prevents operational use inside other tunnels", Manelis explained. In recent years, Israel has destroyed dozens of tunnels dug by Hamas under their shared border.

"The tunnel extended from under a home in southern Lebanon, extending 600 feet through solid rock and penetrating into Israel", the report said.

"I said this many times".

Some areas near the border fence had been closed off.

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Additionally, the Lebanese army command said that it is watching the situation closely, reiterating its readiness to confront any emergency situation.

Once inside Israel, they would be able to enter border villages, murder and kidnap Israeli civilians and soldiers, and plant the yellow Hezbollah flag in an Israeli village.

Israel has long warned that Hezbollah planned to conduct cross-border raids in any future conflict, with the specific goal of attacking and conquering a civilian town near the border.

Israel has long voiced concern about Iran's growing military presence along its northern border, warning of an Iranian corridor that could assist in the transfer of weapons to Hezbollah.

Israel has carried out hundreds of air strikes in Syria against what it says are Iranian military targets and deliveries of advanced arms to Hezbollah. He took over the defense portfolio from his resigning minister and promised to pursue a hard line against Israel's enemies during what he described as a "complex" security situation.

Additional IDF troops were deployed to northern Israel as a precaution against potential attacks by Hezbollah, but no reservists were called up.

Neither side appears interested in another full-fledged confrontation like the 2006 war, but any skirmish could spark an all-out conflict.