Israel Demands UNIFIL Take action over 'Hizbullah Tunnel'
Israel's army on Thursday demanded a U.N. peacekeeping force operating across the border with Lebanon to destroy a tunnel the military said was built by Hizbullah across the frontier.
Israel launched an operation dubbed "Northern Shield" on Tuesday to destroy tunnels it said were dug across the border by Hizbullah.
As operations continued on Thursday, the Israeli army said it had contacted the United Nations peacekeeping force (UNIFIL) which monitors the border region regarding a tunnel allegedly originating on the Lebanese side of the border.
The Israeli military provided UNIFL with a map of the area around Ramieh village on which houses are marked which are "connected to another attack tunnel that has been dug from Lebanon into Israel," Israeli army spokesman Lieutenant Colonel Jonathan Conricus said.
The tunnel crosses into Israel but is not yet operational, he added.
Yoel Strik, head of the army's northern command, demanded the U.N. force "take action, investigate and make sure to neutralize the shaft of that attack tunnel" in a discussion with the head of the peacekeeping mission Stefano Del Col.
Following the launch of "Northern Shield", UNIFIL said Tuesday it had increased patrols but noted the area remained calm.
Israel has not detailed how many tunnels have been detected, although Cornicus on Thursday said the army was working in three different areas along the border.
The operation is part of Israel's wider campaign against Iran-backed Hizbullah, including actions to tackle the group's weapons facilities.
Israel estimates Hizbullah has approximately 130,000 rockets in its arsenal, although it rejects the group's claim that it has successfully acquired precision missiles.
"Despite Hizbullah's effort to insinuate otherwise, Hizbullah is not in possession of any significant accurate capabilities," Conricus said.