February 16, 2019

Israel Secretly Trained in Europe to Destroy Hezbollah Tunnels

08 December 2018, 10:16 | Devin Moran

U.N peacekeepers patrol the Lebanese side of the Lebanese Israeli border in the southern village of Kfar Kila Lebanon Tuesday Dec. 4

U.N peacekeepers patrol the Lebanese side of the Lebanese Israeli border in the southern village of Kfar Kila Lebanon Tuesday Dec. 4 2018

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 success of the operation was immediate as the secrecy surrounding it escaped the eyes of Hezbollah, as two of their members were caught on video.

Israel sent 11 members of the Engineering Corps for special training in Europe to excavate hard rock soil like the one on the Lebanese border a year ago, Haaretz reports.

Hezbollah's closest ally, House Speaker Nabih Berri, described the Israeli allegations as "baseless", saying Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was using the operation to distract attention from corruption charges he's facing.

On Wednesday, Nabih Berri, Lebanon's parliament speaker and ally of Hezbollah, said Israel offered no "coordinates or information" about the tunnels during the regular weekly meeting held at the United Nations position in southern Lebanon.

In a tweet on Wednesday, the embassy stated, "No doubt that Israel has the right to protect its national security, including to prevent the illegal entry of anyone into the country".

Unlike Russia, the USA backed without any reservations Israel's decision to launch Northern Shield, with National Security Adviser John Bolton declaring in a statement that the U.S.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his wife Sara attend a ceremony in Jerusalem in 2017
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his wife Sara

Asked about European allies, particularly Germany and France, who are plotting methods to skirt the US sanctions, Hook said the United States is uniquely placed to enforce the new sanctions.

According to Mudallali, such Israeli actions constitute a violation of Lebanon's sovereignty. Israel has said it won't allow its chief regional foe Iran to establish a presence in Syria.

He has also faced mounting legal woes, with police on Sunday recommending that he and his wife Sara be indicted for bribery, the third such recommendation against the premier in recent months. Mudallali stressed that Israel's actions are a violation of United Nations resolution 1701, which was approved resolve the Israel-Lebanon conflict and ended the 2006 Second Lebanon War.

"I emphasize the critical role of our liaison and coordination mechanisms in mitigating tensions through continuous communication, at the heart of which is the Tripartite forum", said head of UNIFIL mission Maj. "He encouraged both sides to avoid misunderstandings and ensure that security and stability along the Blue Line is maintained and reinforced", said Dujarric. Last November, Israeli jets flew over Northern Lebanon, the Bekaa Valley and the South.

"This is another example of Iran's revolutionary foreign policy that is expansionist and destabilizing for the Middle East when Iranian backed Hezbollah is digging tunnels into another country beneath their borders", said Brian Hook, the Trump administration's top Iran envoy.

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