IDF Destroys Fifth Hezbollah Terror Tunnel, as PM Netanyahu Says Northern Shield is “Mostly Behind Us”

The IDF announced that it had located and destroyed a fifth cross-border terror tunnel built by Hezbollah just after Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said that Operation Northern Shield, the effort to protect northern Israel from the tunnel threat, is “mostly behind us.”

The Israeli military announced that it had located and neutralized the latest tunnel a few days ago, The Times of Israel reported Wednesday.

The IDF had reported the existence and destruction of the tunnel to UNIFIL, the United Nations peacekeeping force in the area. The army also said that it held the Lebanese government responsible for the tunnel, which was a “blatant violation” of UN Security Council Resolution 1701. The resolution ended the 2006 war between Israel and Hezbollah and prohibited the operation of any armed groups near the Israeli border except for the Lebanese army.

On a tour of Israel’s northern border with the security cabinet, Netanyahu said, “This operation is almost entirely behind us,” The Times of Israel reported Tuesday.

“There is exceptional work being carried out here that has disarmed the Hezbollah tunnels,” the prime minister added. “It [Hezbollah] invested heavily in it and we destroyed it.”

However, a senior IDF officer suggested that the operation still had a ways to go, telling journalists, “We are not restricted by time. It can take days, weeks, months. We will find all of them.”

Three 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. Last week, the IDF announced that it had started destroying the tunnels on the Israeli side of the border.

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.

[Photo: Israel Defense Forces / Flickr ]