Israel Tells Lebanon, U.N. Peacekeepers to Destroy Attack Tunnel

Israeli opposition leader Tzipi Livni

Israeli opposition leader Tzipi Livni

Israel's prime minister on Thursday asked the worldwide 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.

Asked by Asharq Al-Awsat about claims made by Lebanon's Speaker Nabih Berri that Israel has given no proof of border tunnels, Dujarric said: "From the Secretary-General's point of view, his principle is that the building of tunnels from one country to another for military purposes is wholly unacceptable".

The Israeli military conducted operations to destroy the tunnels earlier this week, shortly after Secretary of State Mike Pompeo held a one-on-one meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on the sidelines of a North Atlantic Treaty Organisation meeting in Brussels.

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.

In a statement released after being shown a tunnel near the Blue Line that divides Israel and Lebanon, UNIFIL said, "Based on the site inspection, UNIFIL can confirm the existence of a tunnel at the location".

Earlier this week, Israel allegedly hacked into the Lebanese national communications network and warned residents of Kfar Kila village of bombings on Lebanese territories to destroy the tunnels stressing that their lives are in danger.

Netanyahu addressed the work of UNIFIL to the ambassador's on Thursday, calling on the force to expand its role on the Israeli-Lebanese border.

Lebanese Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri
Lebanese Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri

"We are denying our enemies the weapon of tunnels systematically and decisively", he said.

Netanyahu also pointed to the hegemonic and nuclear aspirations of Hezbollah's state-sponsor Iran.

Israel said its operation would stop on its side of the border. "What we are doing with Hamas and with Hezbollah as well - we're doing everything we need to do". In Gaza, Israel is always sought to uncover Hezbollah tunnels, and in southern Syria, the movements of this regime have not stopped in the occupied the Golan Heights. He confidently asserted that when Israel is done with the tunnels, they "will no longer exist and will no longer be effective".

Asked about European allies, particularly Germany and France, who are plotting methods to skirt the US sanctions, Hook said the United States is uniquely placed to enforce the new sanctions.

The Israeli operation is expected to last for weeks, or even months.

"The governments who are still in the [nuclear deal], yes, we have a disagreement over the efficacy of the Iran nuclear deal and we think it's a deficient deal that needs to be replaced by a new and better deal", Hook said.

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The U.S. has also protested the Russian detention of dozens of Ukrainian sailors transiting through the Kerch Strait last month. Navy has also challenged excessive maritime claims made by U.S. allies and partners, including the Philippines and Vietnam.

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