The Israeli military has found a fourth Hezbollah attack tunnel crossing from Lebanon into the Jewish state, Haaretz reported on Sunday, citing an IDF spokesperson.
The spokesperson said that although the tunnel is “under IDF control and does not pose an imminent threat”, it has been rigged with explosives and anyone attempting to enter it from the Lebanese side is risking their life.
The spokesperson also accused Lebanon of violating Israel’s sovereignty and UN Security Council resolution 1701, which ended the Second Lebanon War in 2006.
Earlier, commenting on the detection of the third Hezbollah tunnel on Tuesday, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said that “Hezbollah thought it was digging uninterrupted” but Israel “knew about it and planned it [to launch Operation Northern Shield] and it didn’t leak”.
“We’re carrying out exactly what we planned, but we are also prepared for setbacks,” he pointed out.
On December 4, the IDF announced the launch of Operation Northern Shield to destroy Hezbollah’s network of cross-border tunnels, which it reportedly planned to use to secretly transfer its fighters to Israel in any potential future conflict.
The Lebanese Army, in turn, issued a statement calling Israel’s accusations “mere allegations”, according to the country’s state-run National News Agency (NNA).
Former Israeli Defence Minister Moshe Yaalon, for his part, admitted that the country’s officials had been hiding knowledge of the existence of Hezbollah’s underground tunnels for years before the IDF announced the launch of its ongoing operation.
Yaalon was echoed by a number of former Israeli military officials and opposition politicians who criticised the way in which Operation Northern Shield was revealed to the public.