ISRAELI forces on Tuesday discovered a tunnel leading from Lebanon into Israel, which Hezbollah terrorists planned to use to wreak death and destruction.
The tunnel stretched from a house in the Lebanese village of Kafr Kila to orchards near Metulla on the Israeli side of the border.
“They planned to capture parts of Galilee,” Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told a news conference.
The tunnel — one of a number Hezbollah has dug over several years — was destroyed.
“They have been built with direct support and funding from Iran,” Netanyahu said.
The Israeli leader showed a video clip, filmed by a robot earlier that morning, of men entering a tunnel penetrating 130 feet into Israel. As they approached a camera that the Israeli military had left in the tunnel, a bomb exploded.
The men can then be seen running back towards the start of the tunnel.
The tunnel was six feet high and six feet wide. It was fitted with electrical and communication infrastructure, as well as a ventilation system.
Residents told the Jerusalem Post that they heard digging.
A senior army officer said it probably took two years to build the tunnel and that Hezbollah had been working on it right up to that moment.
Reports said that it was built with reinforced concrete and powered by generators.
He believed that the terrorist group was at least several months away from having operational tunnels.
“None of the tunnels was ready for war tomorrow,” he added. “In some cases, it was a matter of months and in others a matter of years before they’d be operationally ready.
“We are in full control of the situation, and are determined to remove the underground Hezbollah threat from the northern border.”
He added: “The neutralising of the tunnels will not necessarily take place within our territory.”
The army said that tunnels were part of Hezbollah’s “Conquest of the Galilee” plan, which would be put into effect at the launch of a war against Israel.
The military said that Hezbollah planned to smuggle small forces into Israeli territory so that they could ambush Israeli convoys and hurt civilians.
Israel Defence Forces chiefs did not reveal how many other cross-border tunnels they believe there are.
An operation — dubbed Northern Shield — has now been launched to find and destroy them.
Meanwhile, the UN Security Council will hold a meeting in the coming days to discuss the Hezbollah terror tunnels, Israel’s ambassador to the UN. Danny Danon, revealed.
The meeting will deal with Hezbollah’s infringement of Israeli sovereignty.
Netanyahu said he expected a strong condemnation of the tunnels by the UN.
And Danon said Israel will also raise the failure of UNIFIL to monitor south Lebanon and ensure that it is not used for hostile activities.
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