Israel determined to take further action against Iran in Syria - Israeli PM

Remigio Civitarese
Gennaio 14, 2019

Israel said Sunday it had uncovered all cross-border attack tunnels dug by Hezbollah from Lebanon and will bring its operation to find and destroy them to an end after more than a month.

"According to our intelligence and our assessment of the situation there are no longer any cross-border attack tunnels from Lebanon into Israel". It has been clear about preventing the build-up of Iranian proxy forces near the Israeli occupied Golan Heights and the transfer of sophisticated missiles and equipment to the Tehran-backed Hezbollah.

Israel launched Operation Northern Shield early last month to detect and destroy what it called a vast network of Hezbollah tunnels aimed at helping militants sneak across the border to carry out attacks.

It comes as Benjamin Netanyahu made a rare public acknowledgement at his cabinet meeting that Israel was behind a strike on an Iranian weapons storage facility at the Damascus International Airport. "We'll remain fully in the north despite the operation's completion in order to work in the region".

The military said its forces would stay deployed along the border area to monitor for any other possible underground activity, and said it holds the Lebanese government responsible for everything happening in its territory.

He also reiterated that Israel holds the Lebanese government accountable "for any act of violence or violation of 1701", the United Nations resolution that ended the 2006 war between Israel and Hezbollah.

Israel alleges Hezbollah had planned to use the tunnels to kidnap or kill its civilians or soldiers, and to seize a slice of Israeli territory in the event of any hostilities.

Netanyahu, visiting the northern border later on Sunday, put the number at "between 1,000 and 2,000" Hezbollah fighters. The tunnel wasn't operational or a threat to Israel's citizens, Israel's military says.

Israel has until now generally refrained from commenting about the strikes for fear of triggering a reaction and being drawn into the deadly fighting in neighbouring Syria's civil war.

Netanyahu also cited the Israeli military's assessment that it has completed its search-and-destroy mission against Hezbollah attack tunnels.

During his remarks to the cabinet, Netanyahu also thanked outgoing IDF chief Lt. Gen. Gadi Eisenkot for his service to the country.

Israeli analysts see the operation as one of Eisenkot's important achievements.

The powerful Shiite militant Hezbollah, which acts independently in Lebanon, has yet to comment on the Israeli discoveries.

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