Israel announced that it had located a fourth Hezbollah terror tunnel that extended into Israel from Lebanon, The Jerusalem Post reported Sunday.
Though local authorities have been informed of the location of the tunnel, the army has not publicly announced its location. Like the other three tunnels the IDF has located, the most recently found one has been boobytrapped ahead of its destruction so that Hezbollah can’t use it.
“Anyone who enters it from the Lebanese side endangers their life,” the IDF warned.
“The Lebanese government is responsible for the digging of the tunnels from Lebanese territory. This is a serious violation of Israeli sovereignty.”
Alex Fishman, military correspondent for Ynet, provided a history of the preparations for Operation Northern Shield, the operation the IDF launched in early December to discover and destroy Hezbollah’s attack tunnels.
In October 2014, the IDF discovered “a secret component to Hezbollah’s operational outlook,” Fishman reported. Hezbollah is now expected to attempt attacks against Israel, not just utilizing overground routes, but using underground approaches as well. Subsequently, Israel launched efforts to clear vegetation from the border and construct obstacles, including a wall 9 meters (30 feet) high for 8 miles, along the border with Lebanon. The goal, ultimately, would be to extend the wall for 80 miles.
Israel has identified the Radwan force, which answers directly to Hezbollah chief Sheikh Hassan Nasrallah, as being the unit of the terrorist group, which would infiltrated and attack Israel. Radwan consists of an estimated 8,000 to 10,000 men, who have trained under Russian forces and Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps in Syria, where they have gained significant experience in battle. Radwan’s goal is to break through Israeli barriers and attack the 22 communities on Israel’s border with Lebanon.
As early as 2015, IDF intelligence noticed that a guard post and generator were added to a concrete block factory in Kfar Kela in Lebanon — the origin of the first terror tunnel discovered — as the site was transformed into “a military facility for all intents and purposes,” Fishman wrote. Trucks carrying dirt were also seen leaving the area.
The initial preparations for Operation Northern Shield took place under the cover of secrecy. It was initially called “White Gold” when it launched four years ago, and few commanders knew about it.
While the operation was publicly launched in the morning of December 3, the actual operation started the night before when engineering units were covertly transported to Israel’s northern border. One vehicle, called the “Ant,” has multiple sensors and can detect underground digging through rock. Though the IDF predicted that it would take one or two days to uncover the first tunnel, the first tunnel was actually exposed after just two hours.
“We’re preparing for a long stay on the northern border. We’ll work in an organized, systematic manner, one area after another, to rule out any possibility of underground infiltration,” Col. Shahar Beck, the commander of the IDF’s Yahalom engineering unit told Fishman. “As a veteran commander in the army, I’m excited every time anew when I see the soldiers: the creativity, the initiative, the solutions they come up with… the war against the tunnels is a war of minds: the enemy is trying to hide, conceal, mislead—and doing so very skillfully. I don’t dismiss the northern enemy or the southern one. But we’re here until the threat is lifted.”
[Photo: Israel Defense Forces / Flickr ]