Published: Mon, January 14, 2019
Worldwide | By Jermaine Blake

Israel claims Syria air strike, says hunt for Hezbollah tunnels over

Israel claims Syria air strike, says hunt for Hezbollah tunnels over

On Christmas Day the Israeli jets used two civilian aircraft in flight as cover to engage targets in Syria, the Russian Defense Ministry said, noting that the IDF's F-16s flew in as civilian jets were landing at Beirut and Damascus airports.

Long wary of publicity around its operations against Iran-linked targets on its northern front, Israel has lifted the veil in recent days - a sign of confidence in a campaign waged amid occasional tensions with Syria's big-power backer, Russia.

Only recently has it begun to speak publicly about thwarting the weapons shipments from Iran through Syria into Lebanon.

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.

He said this entailed "hundreds" of attacks over the past several years of Syria's civil war, in which Iran and Hezbollah have backed Damascus against rebels and Islamist insurgents.

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

"According to our intelligence, there are no longer any cross-border attack tunnels into Israel".

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

Under Eisenkot's command, Netanyahu said the IDF made "great achievements", but added that there "was much more work to be done, which we will do". Conricus said the United Nations peacekeeping mission, known as UNIFIL, was updated on the latest development.

In the wake of its discoveries, Israel has asked the global community to impose tough sanctions on Hezbollah and begin to act 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 mounted attacks in Syria as part of its efforts to counter the influence created by Iran, which is supporting President Bashar al-Assad in the war that erupted in 2011.

The military said its forces would stay deployed along the border area to monitor for any other possible underground activity, and said it holds the Lebanese government responsible for everything happening in its territory.

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