The UN confirmed Thursday a tunnel in Israel near the Lebanese border, speaking of a “serious” discovery, two days after an IDF operation launched to destroy tunnels in the country. Hezbollah attack spotted under his soil.
The UN Interim Force (UNIFIL) made the announcement in a statement after a visit to an area near the border town of Metula in northern Israel.
The UN force does not mention the Lebanese Shiite Hezbollah movement, a sworn enemy of Israel who has still not responded to Israeli accusations.
General Stefano Del Col, Commander of UNIFIL, accompanied by a technical team, went to an area “where Israel said it had discovered a tunnel close to the blue line”, fixing the Lebanese-Israeli border, according to the press release.
“After inspecting the site, UNIFIL can confirm the existence of a tunnel in this area,” the text added. Finul is “engaged with the parties to provide urgent follow-up (of the situation) .It is very important to have a complete idea of this serious event”.
The international organization said it would send the “preliminary results” to the Lebanese authorities concerned.
On Tuesday, Israel announced that it had discovered tunnels of Hezbollah, its Iran-backed arch-enemy, infiltrating its territory from Lebanon, and launched an operation to destroy them.
– Voice messages –
The Israeli army, which called on UNIFIL to intervene, said that one of the detected tunnels was leaving a house in the Lebanese village of Kfar Kila, running 40 m in Israeli territory, adding to work on its “neutralization”.
Israeli forces are currently operating in three areas along the border from west to east, according to a military spokesman.
On Thursday, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu took Israeli-based diplomats to the border with Lebanon to show them underground tunnels, calling on them to punish Hezbollah.
In Beirut, Foreign Minister Gebrane Bassil asked the Lebanese ambassador to the UN to “file a complaint against Israel,” according to a statement. He accused the Jewish state of conducting a “diplomatic and political campaign against Lebanon, as a prelude to aggression” against that country.
On the Lebanese side of the border, residents of the village of Kfar Kila received on their mobile phones voice messages recorded in Arabic by Israel, asking them to distance themselves from Hezbollah and stop cooperating with it, according to the report. Lebanese National News Agency.
“Your village may be in danger because of the presence of tunnels linked to (Hezbollah) near your houses,” it says in the message according to the agency.
For Netanyahu, Hezbollah, like the Palestinian Hamas movement, is acting on behalf of Iran, another pet peeve of Israel. “Whoever attacks us will see his own blood flow,” he said. “Hezbollah knows it and Hamas knows it too.”
The Israeli operation against these tunnels is the latest episode of the confrontation with Hezbollah on both sides of the Lebanese-Israeli border.
Their last major conflict dates back to 2006, when 33 days of war left 1,200 dead on the Lebanese side, and 160 on the Israeli side, without neutralizing Hezbollah, which was targeted by a massive offensive after the abduction of two Israeli soldiers.