Israel informed the United Nations of the existence of additional “underground infrastructure” belonging to the Iranian-backed terrorist group Hezbollah along the Israeli-Lebanese border, The Times of Israel reported on Monday.
The newly discovered infrastructure included tunnels heading towards Israel that were not destroyed in the IDF’s recent Operation Northern Shield, in which the IDF neutralized six cross-border attack tunnels.
The additional tunnels, the Times reported, are all located in Lebanese territory. An Israeli official said they are known to Israeli intelligence and are within Israel’s operational reach.
An earlier statement by the IDF confirmed the assessment. “The IDF is monitoring and is in possession of a number of sites where Hezbollah is digging underground infrastructure that has yet to cross into Israeli territory,” the army said on January 13.
The report comes after Hezbollah’s leader Hassan Nasrallah dismissed Israel’s success in locating and destroying the attack tunnels that Hezbollah had built.
“The uncovering of the tunnels does not affect by 10 percent our plans to take over the Galilee,” Nasrallah said in his first comments on the issue since Israel announced the operation in December.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu responded to Nasrallah’s threats on Sunday with his own warning that Hezbollah “has good reasons not to want to feel our lethal might.”
Netanyahu observed that Nasrallah’s “people invested a great deal of effort into digging them [the tunnels], and within three weeks we completely deprived him of his weaponry.” Israel’s former IDF chief of staff Gadi Eisenkot backed up Netanyahu’s statement, saying Nasrallah’s claims were “baseless.”
In June 2017, Eisenkot warned that Hezbollah has a presence in “every third or fourth house” in southern Lebanon. He indicated that the group is ensconced in some 240 villages and towns in the area, and receives sophisticated weaponry from Iran, some of which is supplied by Russia.
In his speech before the United Nations General Assembly in September 2018, Netanyahu said, “in Lebanon, Iran is directing Hezbollah to build secret sites to convert inaccurate projectiles into precision-guided missiles, missiles that can target deep inside Israel within an accuracy of ten meters.” He also noted that Hezbollah was “using the innocent people of Beirut as human shields” as the missile conversion facility was located right next to Beirut’s international airport.
[Photo: Israel Defense Forces / Flickr ]