Tense Situation on Israeli-Lebanese Border Back to Normal - UNIFIL Peacekeepers

Published December 30th, 2018 - 11:44 GMT
Israeli soldiers gathering near an Israeli excavation site for reported cross-border Hezbollah-dug tunnels (AFP /Mahmoud ZAYYAT)
Israeli soldiers gathering near an Israeli excavation site for reported cross-border Hezbollah-dug tunnels (AFP /Mahmoud ZAYYAT)

UNIFIL said Saturday that it was working with the Lebanese Army to assess the damage caused by an explosion conducted by Israel this week to block one of the alleged Hezbollah tunnels.

Meanwhile, the situation along Lebanon’s southern border with Israel remains calm, and the U.N. peacekeeping force commander is in contact with both sides, UNIFIL’s spokesperson told The Daily Star Saturday.

“UNIFIL chief Maj. Gen. Stefano Del Col is in talks with both sides to ensure the defusion of tensions,” the spokesperson said.

Israel, Lebanon and UNIFIL are set to discuss the issue of the underground tunnels into Israel at their next tripartite forum.

Since the beginning of December, the Jewish state claims to have uncovered five “Hezbollah attack tunnels,” four of which UNIFIL has confirmed but without commenting on who built them.

Israel has launched Operation Northern Shield to find and destroy the tunnels.

On Wednesday, it used explosives to destroy a cross-border tunnel dug that it claims was dug into its territory from the Lebanese village of Aita Shaab.

UNIFIL said Saturday that the tunnel south of Aita Shaab “was not previously reported to UNIFIL, and, therefore, its existence has not been independently verified.”

On Thursday, the Israeli army distributed footage that it says shows sealing material gushing from a tunnel dug from the Lebanese town of Kfar Kila toward the Israeli town of Metula. The army said it had successfully destroyed the tunnel.

UNIFIL has confirmed that it observed liquefied cement flowing from an old concrete factory in Kfar Kila. “Based on this observation, UNIFIL can confirm that the old concrete factory in Kfar Kila has an opening to the tunnel,” it said.

The peacekeeping force added that it is coordinating with the Lebanese armed forces to decide on the appropriate steps to take to addressing any violation of Resolution 1701, which ended the July 2006 war between Hezbollah and Israel.

“UNIFIL remains engaged with the parties to ensure that all activities in sensitive areas are duly coordinated, [that] the Blue Line [separating Israel and Lebanon] is fully respected by both sides, and to help the parties uphold their respective obligations toward the cessation of hostilities under Resolution 1701,” Saturday’s statement read.

This article has been adapted from its original source.

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