Senior United States administration officials expressed their support for Israel’s recently-commenced operation intended to eliminate the threat of Hezbollah’s terror tunnels extending into Israeli territory.
The Times of Israel reported Tuesday that National Security Adviser John Bolton said that the U.S. “strongly supports” Israel’s right to “defend its sovereignty,” after the IDF started Operation Northern Shield and located a tunnel that extended some 130 feet into Israel from the Lebanese village Kfar Kila.
Bolton called on Hezbollah to “stop its tunneling into Israel and to refrain from escalation and violence.” He also demanded that “Iran and all of its agents” end “their regional aggression and provocation.”
My statement in response to Hizballah’s tunneling across the Blue Line. pic.twitter.com/KbcutHUOpe
— John Bolton (@AmbJohnBolton) December 4, 2018
Bolton’s expressed support of Israel’s right to self-defense against the Iran-backed terrorist group echoed sentiments expressed by U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Monday, after he met with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Brussels.
The meeting between the two was reported to be about developments in Lebanon, among other shared concerns. Netanyahu said on his way to Brussels that he would be discussing “the aggression of Iran and its proxies in the North” with Pompeo.
In his meeting with America’s top diplomat, Netanyahu was accompanied by Mossad head Yossi Cohen; National Security Council head Meir Ben-Shabbat; and his military secretary Avi Bluth.
After the meeting, a State Department readout said that Pompeo “emphasized the United States’ commitment to Israel’s security and absolute right to self-defense.”
This evening in Brussels, I met with with PM @netanyahu. It was a joy to wish him a happy #Hanukkah as we lit candles on the menorah. #ChagSameach! I also emphasized our commitment to #Israel’s national security & absolute right to self defense. pic.twitter.com/sF8m6rjsM0
— Secretary Pompeo (@SecPompeo) December 3, 2018
Netanyahu had highlighted the danger that Iran and its proxy Hezbollah posed to Israel and to the residents of Beirut in his speech to the United Nations General Assembly in September. The Israeli leader pointed out then that Hezbollah, with Iran’s aid, was improving the precision of its extensive rocket arsenal in a facility adjacent to Beirut’s Rafik Hariri International Airport.
Hezbollah has not been shy about the support it receives from Iran. In a June 2016 speech, Hezbollah’s chairman Hassan Nasrallah proclaimed, “Hezbollah’s budget, its income, its expenses, everything it eats and drinks, its weapons and rockets, are from the Islamic Republic of Iran.”
We surprised this Hezbollah operative before he could surprise Israeli civilians. Take a look at what we caught on camera from inside an attack tunnel dug from Lebanon into Israel. #NorthernShield pic.twitter.com/CFXl33hx7i
— Israel Defense Forces (@IDF) December 4, 2018
[Photo: IsraeliPM / Twitter ]