TEL AVIV – The IDF on Tuesday said Hezbollah was attempting to seal off some of its cross-border attack tunnels after the army boobytrapped them as part of its Northern Shield operation.
“An attempt to seal off the passage can be seen, which we understand was carried out by operatives of the Hezbollah terror group in recent days,” the IDF said in a statement accompanying footage of one of the four tunnels it has so far exposed.
The tunnels were filled with explosives by the IDF to prevent future use by the terror group. The army stressed that they did not present an immediate threat.
A robot carrying a camera was sent into the tunnel by combat engineers.
“From the moment the terror tunnels are exposed, IDF soldiers learn about them through various means, including photography and research capabilities,” read the statement released by the IDF Spokesperson’s unit.
The footage was released a day after the army gave permission to CNN’s Ian Lee to drop a camera several meters into a tunnel. CNN said the limestone tunnel was sophisticated, complete with ventilation shafts and lights and “large enough for an NBA player to stand in.”
On Monday, the UN peacekeeping force UNIFIL acknowledged the existence of four tunnels that had crossed into Israeli territory and confirmed that two of them originated in Lebanon, “constitut[ing] violations of UN Security Council Resolution 1701,” UNIFIL said in a statement.
UN Resolution 1701 ended the 2006 Second Lebanon War and called for the disarmament of groups in Lebanon outside of the Lebanese army.
The UN Security Council is set to convene Wednesday at Israel’s behest to discuss the attack tunnels and Hezbollah’s violations of UN Resolution 1701.
“UNIFIL has requested the Lebanese authorities ensure urgent follow-up actions in accordance with the responsibilities of the Government of Lebanon pursuant to resolution 1701,” UNIFIL said, marking a rare confirmation of Israeli allegations.
Also on Monday, On Monday Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri and Lebanese Army Commander, General Joseph Aoun, met UNIFIL Commander, General Stefano Del Col to discuss the situation.
Hariri said the Lebanese army “will conduct patrols to deal with any flaw in the implementation of Resolution 1701 from the Lebanese side,” but added that the UN must “shoulder its responsibilities in facing the daily violations by Israel of Lebanese airspace and territorial waters.”
Israel on Tuesday was said to have asked the US to pressure the Lebanese government into destroying the tunnels on its side of the border, Lebanese daily Al-Akhbar reported citing western officials.
Israel is reportedly seeking to expand UNIFIL’s mandate in Lebanon, and is requesting that the Trump administration exert pressure on Lebanon by suspending military aid to the Lebanese army, the report said.