Northern Shield: Israel launches op to cut off Hezbollah tunnels on Lebanese border

The Israel Defense Forces have begun an operation to destroy cross-border tunnels that the military claims are used by Hezbollah militants to make incursions into Israeli territory.

The military says the installations could be used by Hezbollah militants as part of their “offensive plan.”

“The digging of tunnels constitutes a blatant violation of Israeli sovereignty,” said Brigadier General Ronen Manelis, the IDF spokesperson, as quoted by the Jerusalem Post.

Some areas along Lebanon’s border have been declared a closed military zone where the IDF is beefing up its presence. The offensive will involve troops from the Israeli Army’s Northern Command as well as Combat Engineering Corps.

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The IDF claimed Hezbollah has spent years digging up the tunnels and nurturing plans of invading Israel. It also accused the Lebanon government for failing to bring the militant movement under control. There is no immediate response from Beirut so far.

Despite the military closing certain areas on the border, there were no special instructions for people living in the north of Israel. According to Israeli media, the tunnels are built from durable concrete and have secondary escape shafts. They are also said to have a 24-hour power supply via underground generators as well as a ventilation system.

The IDF targets cross-border underground facilities from time to time. Earlier in May, the troops destroyed a “Palestinian terror tunnel” that stretched nearly 1km into Israeli territory. The tunnel was targeted after dozens of mortars and projectiles were reportedly fired at Israel from inside landlocked Gaza.

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