Israeli, Lebanese Forces Face-off Amid Operation To Destroy Hizbullah Attack Tunnels
Israeli and Lebanese soldiers averted two potential military confrontations on Monday, as Operation Northern Shield to uncover and destroy cross-border attack tunnels built by Iranian proxy Hizbullah enters its third week. In an incident caught on camera, troops from the Lebanese Armed Forces can be viewed aiming their weapons at their Israeli counterparts as United Nations peacekeepers attempt to defuse the situation along the so-called Blue Line, the internationally-recognized frontier established after the Israel Defense Forces withdrew in 2000 from southern Lebanon. The IDF confirmed that the face-off occurred as its soldiers were installing barbed wire along the border and stressed that at no point was Lebanese territory penetrated. Israel has thus far exposed four subterranean structures through which Hizbullah planned to dispatch elite fighters in a future war in order to capture Israeli towns and villages. Jerusalem estimates that dozens of these tunnels have been built along the 130-kilometer (80-mile) border and that the ongoing mission could take months to complete. Monday’s stand-off evidences the danger associated with the operation, and follows an incident earlier this month in which the IDF fired warning shots at three alleged Hizbullah members approaching the frontier adjacent to where Israeli troops were carrying out excavations. Beirut, however, claimed that a Lebanese army patrol was misidentified and targeted due to “heavy fog in the area.” Meanwhile, the UN Security Council is slated to convene Wednesday to discuss Hizbullah’s tunnel system, which constitutes a violation of resolution 1701 that set the terms for ending the 2006 war between Israel and the terror group. Despite that motion calling for Hizbullah’s total disarmament, Iran’s underling has in just over a decade amassed a stockpile of some 130,000 projectiles pointed at the Jewish state.