(Basel Awidat/Flash90)
Lebanon border

The IDF launched Operation Northern Shield to neutralize Hezbollah’s terror tunnel threat on the Israel-Lebanon border. 

By: United with Israel Staff

The IDF launched Operation Northern Shield early Tuesday morning to expose and destroy terror tunnels dug by the Hezbollah terrorist organization from Lebanon into Israel.

The IDF is operating at several points inside Israeli territory along its northern border with Lebanon, with several areas declared a closed military zone.

Emulating the Hamas terror organization in Gaza, Hezbollah, in recent years, has been digging tunnels into Israel designed to enable the rapid streaming of large groups of terrorists.

IDF Spokesperson Brigadier General Ronen Manelis underscored that the tunnels were not yet operational and have not become a threat to Israeli communities.

“We see Hezbollah’s activities as a flagrant and blatant violation of Israeli sovereignty,” stated IDF spokesman Lt. Col Jonathan Conricus. “This activity is another example of the negative effects of Iranian entrenchment in the region.”

Conricus said Israel has been investigating the possibility of underground Hezbollah tunnels since 2013. He did not explain why the operation was launched specifically now, nor did he disclose any further information on the number, location or nature of the tunnels.

‘An Act of Aggression’

“The construction of attack tunnels is an act of aggression and a violation of UN Resolution 1701 by the Iranian proxy in Lebanon,” Foreign Ministry Spokesman Emmanuel Nahshon tweeted.

UNSC Resolution 1701 was passed in 2006 at the conclusion of the Second Lebanon War, demanding a full cessation of hostilities, a withdrawal by Hezbollah to the Blue Line, behind the Litani River, and that the government of Lebanon and the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) deploy their forces in the South. Israel has repeatedly charged that Hezbollah breached the resolution on many occasions.

Yuval Rotem, director-general of Israel’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, stated that “Hezbollah is a dangerous terror organization, at the service of the Ayatollahs in Teheran. Israel is committed to protecting its citizens and its territory. The Hezbollah activity is a blatant violation of UN resolution 1701.”

While Israel’s border with Lebanon has been relatively quiet in the years since the Second Lebanon War in 2006, Hezbollah has been working with Iran’s backing to build-up its military offensive capabilities, and especially its cache of some 150,000 rockets and missiles that could hit almost any point in Israel.

Hezbollah has so far remained silent and has not reacted to the IDF’s operation.

AP contributed to this report.