Israel says army uncovered second Hezbollah tunnel during operation

The Israeli Army said Saturday it uncovered a second tunnel crossing from Lebanon into Israel, days after it announced an operation to “expose and thwart” such tunnels.

Israel Defense Forces spokesman Lt. Col. Jonathan Conricus told reporters in a conference call that soldiers discovered a “fresh tunnel” that showed signs of recent digging by Hezbollah operatives.

“We placed explosives inside the tunnel to make sure it cannot be used to infiltrate into Israel,” Conricus told reporters, adding the tunnels were designed “to allow elite terrorists to enter Israel and to attack Israel civilians and Israeli targets.”

Earlier in the week the Israeli army said it was launching an operation dubbed “Northern Shield” along the northern border with Lebanon to “expose and thwart cross border tunnels” it said had been dug by Hezbollah, the Iran-funded militant group and political party.

Hours later the IDF said it found a tunnel near the Israeli border town of Metula that began in a civilian’s house in the nearby Lebanese village of Kafr Kela. The tunnel was 2 meters by 2 meters and an estimated 200 meters long, according to Conricus.

Conricus did not disclose the recently discovered tunnel’s location for what he said were security reasons, but said it wasn’t operational, nor did it pose a threat to Israel.

A warning in Arabic is being broadcast into Lebanon to warn people against entering the tunnel, Conricus said.

The IDF views the tunnel as a “severe violation” of Israel’s sovereignty and the United Nations Security Council Resolution 1701, he said, referring to a resolution ending the last war between Israel and Hezbollah in 2006.

“We hold the Lebanese government responsible for the activity of this violation,” Conricus said, “and all of Hezbollah’s violations in southern Lebanon.”

The IDF believes there could still be a number of tunnels along the roughly 120-kilometer Israel-Lebanon border.

A senior Hezbollah officials told CNN the group was surprised when Israel announced the “Northern Shield” operation, adding they had observed Israeli movements on the other side of the border, with Israeli forces using dogs and sensors in what appeared to be an effort to search for tunnels.

“They’re worried we’re digging tunnels,” the official said, without confirming or denying whether they were.