Israel demands international action on Hezbollah tunnels

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The Israeli government demanded international action on Hezbollah on Tuesday for building tunnels to infiltrate and launch attacks against Israel.

“These cross-border terror tunnels were built by Hezbollah with direct support and funding from Iran. They were built with one purpose in mind—to attack and murder innocent Israeli men, women and children,” said Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at the Defense Ministry in Tel Aviv. “This is a grave violation of Israel’s sovereignty and a gross violation of U.N. Security Council Resolution #1701. It is an unacceptable act of wanton aggression.”

The IDF launched “Operation Northern Shield” on Tuesday to discover and eliminate attack tunnels constructed by Hezbollah from Lebanon to Israel.

“I have a message for the people of Lebanon: Hezbollah is putting your lives in danger,” said Netanyahu. “They are sacrificing your well-being to serve the aggressive purposes of Iran. Israel holds the Lebanese government accountable for all terror activity emanating from Lebanon against Israel.

Like any other nation, Israel maintains the right to defend itself. We will continue to do all that is necessary to defend ourselves against Iran’s efforts to use Lebanon, Syria and Gaza as forward terror bases to attack Israel.”

Netanyahu added that he mentioned the imposition of new sanctions against Hezbollah during his meeting on Monday with U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.

In a letter to the U.N. Security Council, Israeli Ambassador to the United Nations Danny Danon demanded the world body condemn Hezbollah “in the strongest terms possible” and hold the Lebanese government “responsible for the dangerous destabilization of the region.”

“The Lebanese government must abide by its international commitments and fully implement the above mentioned Security Council resolutions,” he wrote.

“The construction of these tunnels, built by Hezbollah and funded by Iran, alongside the ongoing efforts to transfer arms, convert inaccurate projectiles into precision-guided missiles and manufacture precision-guided missiles in Lebanon, are a flagrant violation of Israel’s sovereignty and mark yet another stage of Hezbollah’s ongoing efforts to expand its military build-up and further destabilize the already volatile region,” he added.

The United States also condemned the tunnels.

“The U.S. strongly supports Israel’s efforts to defend its sovereignty, and we call on [Hezbollah] to stop its tunneling into Israel and to refrain from escalation and violence,” said U.S. National Security Advisor John Bolton. “More broadly, we call on Iran and all of its agents to stop their regional aggression and provocation, which pose an unacceptable threat to Israeli and regional security.”

JNS