TEL AVIV – The IDF on Sunday announced the end of its northern operation to find and destroy cross-border tunnels with the discovery of a sixth attack tunnel dug by Lebanon-based terror group, Hezbollah.
“With the discovery of this terror tunnel, the effort to locate the passages dug by Hezbollah that crossed the border into Israeli territory has been completed. The neutralization of this passage will be completed in the coming days,” the army said in a statement, adding that the operation had “removed the threat from the citizens of Israel.”
“According to our intelligence and our assessment of the situation, there are no longer any cross-border attack tunnels from Lebanon into Israel,” army spokesperson Lt. Col. Jonathan Conricus said.
“In addition, the IDF is monitoring and is in possession of a number of sites where Hezbollah is digging underground infrastructure that has yet to cross into Israeli territory,” the IDF said.
Operation Northern Shield was launched over a month ago with the aim of locating and destroying tunnels dug by Hezbollah into towns in northern Israel.
Earlier this week, outgoing IDF Chief-of-Staff said Hezbollah was planning to use its network of tunnels to carry out a surprise attack that would “throw Israel off balance and cause an earthquake in Israeli society.”
The sixth tunnel was 2,600 feet long and extended hundreds of feet into Israeli territory. At 180 feet deep, it was the deepest tunnel discovered by the IDF and the most important one.
The tunnel included electricity, “railroads to transport equipment, garbage, lighting equipment and ladders to enter Israeli territory. A lot of resources were invested in this tunnel,” IDF Spokesperson Brig.-Gen. Ronen Manelis said.
The army said that the UN peacekeeping force UNIFIL had been notified about the new tunnel.
The military added that “IDF troops and the tunnel-finding laboratory will continue serving permanently along the Lebanese border.” It also said the construction of a $470 million border wall would continue as planned. The aim of the wall is twofold: to protect Israelis from sniper attacks and to prevent Hezbollah terrorists from infiltrating into Israeli territory.
Lebanon on Friday said it intends to file a complaint at the UN Security Council over the border wall.
In his comments at the weekly cabinet meeting, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Sunday confirmed the unearthing of the sixth tunnel, saying it was the “most important” discovery to date.
“We are thus approaching the completion of the goal we set at the outset of Operation Northern Shield – the eradication of Hezbollah’s tunnels weapon,” he said.