Israel launches military operation ‘to expose, neutralise’ tunnels allegedly dug by Hezbollah

Israel has launched “an operation to expose and neutralise” tunnels between Lebanon and Israel allegedly dug by armed group Hezbollah, Al Jazeera reported. The military had announced the decision on Twitter on Tuesday.

Israeli military spokesperson Lieutenant Colonel Jonathan Conricus told Reuters news agency that the operation would only take place on Israel’s side of the border and that it would not extend into Lebanon.

“We see the Hezbollah activities as a flagrant and blatant violation of Israeli authority,” he told Reuters.

On Twitter, Israeli military spokesperson Avichay Adraee said the Lebanese government is responsible for the build-up of the tunnels, saying they are endangering Lebanese citizens.

Hezbollah has not responded toward the new development yet.

Lebanese online news portal Tayyar reported that the Israeli army was excavating areas opposite the Lebanese villages of Kfarkela and Adaisseh on the southern border.

According to AJ, the operation in Israel is a rare occurrence and signals an increase of tensions between the two.

On Monday night, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu visited Brussels to talk to US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to brief him of the operation that started today morning.

The timing of the operation is considered important, since three days ago, Israeli police had recommended that Netanyahu be indicted on charges of corruption that have been plaguing him, AJ reported.

As per AJ, this could be a an effort by Netanyahu to divert attention away from those legal problems.

The tensions between the two started in 2006 when the armed group and Israel fought in the border region which killed more than 1,100 Lebanese, mostly civilians, and 159 Israelis.

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