The terror tunnels that extend from Lebanon into Israel by Hezbollah were part of the Iranian-backed terrorist group’s strategy to cut off the northern Israeli city of Metulla and start a war, a senior IDF officer told The Times of Israel Wednesday.
According to the officer from Israel’s Northern Command, who spoke on condition of anonymity, Hezbollah planned to use the tunnels to send forces into Israel and block the entrance to Route 90, cutting Metulla off from the rest of Israel that lies to its south.
“Capturing parts of the Galilee by Hezbollah is a concrete threat,” Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said, echoing the assessment of the IDF. “It is also part of a regional and global terror effort led by Iran.”
The IDF has announced only that it has located a single tunnel that began in the southern Lebanese city of Kfar Kila and extended some 130 feet into Israeli territory. Though the IDF has said that it will take a significant amount of time to destroy all of Hezbollah’s tunnels, it hasn’t cited the total number of tunnels it has discovered.
Hezbollah, seven years ago, created a unit called Radwan, whose purpose is to infiltrate into Israel and cause as much damage as possible. The goal of the unit is reportedly to capture territory inside of Israel in order to be able to declare a victory.
Sheikh Hassan Nasrallah, the secretary general of Hezbollah, said last year that “Israel is afraid of any confrontation because it could take place within its territory.”
Israel has been building a wall along its border with Lebanon to prevent such an attack.
In an exclusive interview with The Israel Project, Michael Mazeika, a five-year resident of Metulla, said that the northern city, on the border with Lebanon, is a “beautiful place” to live, but, with the news of recently discovered tunnels dug by Hezbollah, facing a “terrible reality.”
Mazeika said that residents of Metulla received text messages from the municipal council early Tuesday morning apprising them of the IDF’s efforts to eliminate Hezbollah’s terror tunnels threatening northern Israel. He explained that after tunnels dug by Hamas were discovered in southern Israel, the country’s northern residents realized that it was possible that they would face the same threat one day.
Mazeika observed that “not a lot of people in the world have to deal with the fact there’s a terrorist group less than 100 meters from them trying to dig tunnels under their bedrooms.”
[Photo: Israel Defense Forces / YouTube ]