Diplomacy

IDF Says Hezbollah Trying to Close Terror Tunnels; UNIFIL Declares They Violate UN Resolutions

The IDF said that Hezbollah is attempting to close off terror tunnels, and UNIFIL declared that two of the uncovered tunnels represented violations of United Nations Security Council Resolution 1701, The Times of Israel reported Tuesday.

The IDF released a video showing footage from one of the four terror tunnels discovered by Israel so far. An accompanying statement said, “An attempt to seal off the passage can be seen, which we understand was carried out by operatives of the Hezbollah terror group in recent days.”

The IDF statement did not specify which tunnel the footage was from.

The IDF spokesman, the Times reported, “refused to comment on how Hezbollah had tried to seal off the tunnel or why this effort had not set off the explosives placed inside the tunnel by the IDF,” due to security concerns.

The army has reiterated that the four tunnels pose no threat to the communities in northern Israel because they do not have exits holes, have been lined with explosives, and are monitored at all times.

On Monday, UNIFIL, the UN force charged with ensuring maintaining peace between Israel and Lebanon, corroborated the existence of all four tunnels. UNIFIL also confirmed that two of the Hezbollah attack tunnels crossed the border and verified Israeli charges that they violate UN Security Council Resolution 1701, which was the basis for ending the 2006 war between Israel and Hezbollah.

“After further technical investigations conducted independently in accordance with its mandate, UNIFIL at this stage can confirm that two of the tunnels cross the Blue Line,” the UNIFIL statement read. “These constitute violations of UN Security Council resolution 1701.”

In an exclusive video, shot near Metula in northern Israel, The Israel Project gives a view of the threat that the tunnels pose to Israeli security and how the IDF is responding to protect Israeli civilians.

Two weeks ago, Israel announced that it was launching Operation Northern Shield to seek and destroy the terror tunnels that Hezbollah had built, allowing terrorists to cross into Israel from Lebanon. Subsequently, Israel reported that it had discovered three more tunnels, bringing the total to four.

The IDF believes that Hezbollah has built the tunnels to allow infiltrators to cross into Israel and attack the 22 communities near the border with Lebanon. Hezbollah has stated that it intends to attack the Galilee in its next war with Israel. It is suspected that Hezbollah terrorists plan to try and capture territory inside of Israel and claim victory.

After the first tunnel was discovered, a senior IDF officer said that the Israeli army assessed that Hezbollah’s goal was to allow infiltrators to enter Israel and cut off the northern city of Metulla from the rest of Israel.

The UN Security Council has been discussing Hezbollah’s tunnel threat to Israel, and an open session of the council on the topic is planned for Wednesday.

[Photo: רונן מנליס – Ronen Manelis / Twitter ]