Israel Confirms Syria Strike, Ends Mission on Lebanon Border

Pauline Gross
January 14, 2019

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu acknowledged on Sunday Israel's weekend attack on what he called an Iranian arms cache in Syria, and said it had also completed a hunt for cross-border tunnels dug by Tehran-allied Lebanese Hezbollah fighters.

The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) rarely acknowledge striking specific targets in Syria but its outgoing chief of staff just openly confessed to running a large-scale bombing campaign in its neighbor's territory.

In an interview with The New York Times, the general said that Israel had carried out attacks on "thousands of [Iranian] targets without claiming responsibility or asking for credit".

Netanyahu says Israel says the recent strikes prove "we are committed more than ever to act against Iran in Syria".

A far more visible part of his legacy has been the recent Lebanese border operation, which the military said thwarted Hezbollah's prime strategic investment for its next potential war.

"All of the tunnels have been exposed and have either already been destroyed or are going to be destroyed", military spokesman Lieutenant-Colonel Jonathan Conricus told reporters.

The attacks against Iranian targets and not only on Hezbollah arms convoys, were authorised by cabinet in 2017, he explained in his interview to the U.S. newspaper.

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The Israeli military said a sixth and final tunnel was found on Saturday, 55 metres (yards) deep and reaching "a few tens of metres" into Israel from 800 metres within Lebanon.

It included stairs, a rail system and a wide a passageway that allowed for the movement of equipment and a large number of forces.

He also reiterated that Israel holds the Lebanese government accountable "for any act of violence or violation of 1701", the United Nations resolution that ended the 2006 war between Israel and Hezbollah.

In the wake of the tunnel discoveries, Israel has asked the global community to impose tough sanctions on Hezbollah and launch action against its state-within-a-state operation in Lebanon.

The powerful Shiite Hezbollah group, which acts independently in Lebanon, has yet to comment on the tunnels.

Israel has pledged to prevent its main enemy Iran from entrenching itself militarily in Syria, where it is backing President Bashar al-Assad's regime alongside Russian Federation and Hezbollah.

A month-long war in 2006 between Israel and Hezbollah killed more than 1,200 Lebanese, mostly civilians, and more than 160 Israelis, mostly soldiers.

Other reports by GizPress

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