Tripartite meeting to be held to discuss Hezbollah tunnels

Source: Tripartite meeting to be held to discuss Hezbollah tunnels – Arab-Israeli Conflict – Jerusalem Post

Date not disclosed; UNIFIL confirmed existence of fourth Hezbollah cross-border tunnel.

BY ANNA AHRONHEIM
 DECEMBER 30, 2018 14:34
An Israeli soldier lowers a camera down an Israeli-dug hole into a cross-border tunnel dug from Leba

The United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) will hold a tripartite meeting with representatives from the IDF and Lebanese Armed Forces to discuss the cross border tunnels dug by Hezbollah into northern Israel, it was announced on Sunday.

The meeting, whose date was not disclosed, will be held at UNIFIL’s base in Naqoura in southern Lebanon and will also discuss other violations of UN Security Council resolution 1701, UNIFIL spokesperson Andrea Tenenti told Lebanon’s National News Agency.

Israel launched Operation Northern Shield in early December to discover and destroy tunnels dug by the Lebanese Shiite terror group into northern Israel.  The IDF has so far found five tunnels and has destroyed at least four of them, two by explosives and another two by flooding with liquid concrete.

The Israeli military has repeatedly warned that the Lebanese government is responsible for the digging of the tunnels which they say were part of a Hezbollah plan to attack communities in northern Israel.

On Friday the military flooded at least two tunnels which extended several meters into Israel near the community of Metula with liquid concrete to prevent Hezbollah from using them.

The material was seen coming out of the tunnel in several places in the southern Lebanese village of Kfar Kila where the tunnel was dug from, including in a residential building next to the border fence which was used to make bricks.

“This fact indicates Hezbollah’s use of civilian structures in the heart of an urban area in southern Lebanon, in flagrant violation of Resolution 1701 and endangering its citizens by using them as human shields,” the military said in a statement.

“It is clear that this factory belongs to Hezbollah and was used to build tunnels,” Manelis said, adding that there were other locations in Kfar Kila which were connected to tunnels and therefore the IDF saw material come out in several locations, including into residential homes.

“The IDF views the Lebanese government as responsible for the digging of the tunnels and for the consequences of its action. This is a serious violation of Resolution 1701 and the sovereignty of the State of Israel,” the IDF Spokesperson warned.

On Saturday UNIFIL released a statement confirming the existence of four tunnels, including the ones flooded by the IDF.

“In the course of the ongoing investigation into the presence of tunnels along the Blue Line, UNIFIL together with the Lebanese Armed Forces (LAF) surveyed the premises of an old concrete factory in the southern part of (Kafr Kila), after UNIFIL had observed liquified cement flowing out from the building within this facility,” read the statement.

“The liquid overflowing on the Lebanese side had been injected by the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) through a shaft drilled on their end of a tunnel that UNIFIL had previously independently confirmed to be crossing the Blue Line in the same general area. Based on this observation, UNIFIL can confirm that the old concrete factory in (the village) has an opening to the tunnel, which is crossing the Blue Line,” the statement added.

UNIFIL added that it had been informed by the IDF on Wednesday of another tunnel that had been destroyed near the Lebanese village of Ayta ash-Shab that had not been reported to UN peacekeepers, “therefore it’s existence has not been independently verified by UNIFIL.”

Peacekeepers “conducted a post-blast assessment and observed a crater in the area,” the statement continued adding that they are working with the Lebanese army to assess any damage caused by the explosion.

“UNIFIL remains engaged with the parties to ensure that all activities in sensitive areas are duly coordinated, the Blue Line is fully respected by both sides, and to help the parties uphold their respective obligations towards the cessation of hostilities under resolution 1701,” it concluded.

 

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