Ya’alon admits Israel lied about Hezbollah’s tunnels

Senior IDF offcials on Israel Lebanon border

Israel's prime minister on Thursday asked the global community to impose additional sanctions on Hezbollah and condemn the Lebanese militant group in response to the discovery of tunnels stretching from southern Lebanon into northern Israel.

After the launch of Operation Northern Shield on Tuesday, the IDF placed a camera inside the first tunnel exposed.

"They don't know exactly the extent of our knowledge on their tunnel project or their plans, but we know a lot", a senior military source emphasized.

Israeli opposition leader Tzipi Livni has criticized Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for overdramatizing a recent operation by the Israeli military to block what it claims are tunnels the Hezbollah resistance movement has dug from Lebanon into the occupied territories "for political gain".

It crossed into Israeli territory near the Galilee village of Zarit, the military said.

Unlike Russia, the US backed without any reservations Israel's decision to launch Northern Shield, with National Security Adviser John Bolton declaring in a statement that the U.S.

Hezbollah receives the majority of its funding from Iran, supplementing Iranian aid with a vast worldwide criminal network that traffics in illegal narcotics and money laundering.

Netanyahu also urged Guterres to galvanize the worldwide community to demand that more sanctions be imposed on Hezbollah. New U.S. sanctions appear to have further constrained Iran's economy, which already had been teetering on the brink of collapse amid popular protests against the hardline regime.

Engineering work along the Israel Lebanon border
Engineering work along the Israel Lebanon border

The despatch of a "technical team" to Israel was agreed at a meeting chaired by UNIFIL chief Stefano Del Col at its headquarters in Ras Al-Naqoura with senior officers from the Lebanese Armed Forces and the Israel Defense Forces, a statement said.

In June of previous year, Aviv Kochavi, the incoming IDF Chief of Staff rebuked the then-UNIFIL commander for saying that "the situation is good", along the border between Israel and Lebanon.

The statement came after reports of Lebanese parliament speaker Nabih Berri saying that the IDF had not given information about the tunnels.

Israeli military digger works on the border with Lebanon in the northern Israeli town of Metula, Tuesday, Dec. 4, 2018. The success of the operation was immediate as the secrecy surrounding it escaped the eyes of Hezbollah, as two of their members were caught on video.

The IDF says it has been tracking Hezbollah's attack tunnels since 2014 and expects to find and destroy several more in a campaign that will last weeks to months.

However, the Israelis have violated Lebanese land, sea and airspace more than 1,300 times this year through November 15.

On Wednesday, Nabih Berri, Lebanon's parliament speaker and ally of Hezbollah, said Israel offered no "coordinates or information" about the tunnels during the regular weekly meeting held at the United Nations position in southern Lebanon. The Europeans have been told they must choose between business with the United States or Iran. "So why did it take so long?" he said. It accused Israel of hacking its mobile network and sending messages to residents, warning them of bombings.



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