by: Kate Norman
Tuesday, 4 December 2018 | On Tuesday morning, the IDF (Israel Defense Forces) announced that it has launched an operation to “expose and neutralize cross-border attack tunnels dug by Hezbollah from Lebanon to Israel.”
Lt. Col. Jonathan Conricus, head of the IDF international media branch, announced the operation Tuesday morning.
“We see Hezbollah’s actions as a flagrant and blatant violation of Israeli sovereignty,” Conricus stressed.
Dubbed “Operation Northern Shield,” the mission is to protect northern Israel from Hezbollah’s offensive operation: “Conquering the Galilee.” The IDF asserted in a video released Tuesday morning that Hezbollah has been digging tunnels from southern Lebanon into Israel for years as part of its offensive operation.
Metula, an Israeli town bordering Lebanon, is right next to the action. The IDF is operating outside the community and declared the surrounding area a closed military zone. The Israeli military, however, has not warned those citizens to take any extra precautions yet.
Conricus said it would take time to expose and neutralize all the tunnels but that they did not pose an immediate threat because they were not “operationally ready.” The Times of Israel reported that Conricus said he “could not elaborate on the number of tunnels or how deeply they penetrated into Israel, but said such information may be provided in the future.”
The IDF showed a clip aired on Al Mayadeen News (an Arab satellite TV channel based out of Lebanon) in February 2014 about the offensive operation “Conquering the Galilee” that shows an animation of rockets firing into Israel with a voiceover that says, “Hezbollah will launch hundreds of rockets into Israel at a time.”
According to the Times of Israel, the Israeli military has been setting up physical barriers and walls to strengthen the buffer on the Lebanese border in order to “protect Israeli civilians and soldiers from sniper attacks and prevent infiltration into Israel by Hezbollah operatives.”
The Israel–Lebanon border has been relatively quiet since the 2006 Second Lebanon War, but actions and preparations taken by both sides indicate potential for the tension to culminate in action.
Hezbollah is in direct violation of United Nations Security Council Resolution 1701, which helped end the 2006 conflict, according to the Israeli military. The IDF video highlights three ways the terrorist organization is violating the resolution: “Hezbollah is present in southern Lebanon,” “Hezbollah is armed and stockpiling weapons in southern Lebanon” and “Hezbollah is conducting military activity such as digging attack tunnels into Israel.”
Last Thursday, Syrian and Russian news agencies reported that “Syrian air defense forces shot down an Israeli war plane,” citing Israeli “aggression,” according to Ynetnews.
The IDF Spokesperson denied the allegations as false, though the alleged attack occurred a few hours after an Iranian jumbo jet flew directly from Tehran to Beirut, which the IDF asserted was a flight used to smuggle weapons to Hezbollah, something the IDF has said in the past that it will not tolerate.
Hezbollah released a video last Friday—following the alleged IDF airstrike—threatening Israel, showing several strategic Israeli locations and warning in Hebrew and Arabic, “If you dare attack, you will regret it.”
The locations in the video include the nuclear reactor in Dimona, an oil refinery, several Israeli air force bases and the IDF’s headquarters in Tel Aviv. Striking the Dimona nuclear reactor would potentially release radioactive material to the surrounding areas, violating the UN’s nuclear terrorism policy.
“The IDF won’t let Hezbollah endanger Israeli civilians,” the Operation Northern Shield statement said. “The international community shouldn’t either.”
Posted on December 4, 2018
Source: (Bridges for Peace, December 4, 2018)
Photo Credit: Israel Defense Forces/flickr.com
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