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Israel launches Operation Northern Shield to destroy Hezbollah cross-border attack tunnels

Israel launches Operation Northern Shield to destroy Hezbollah cross-border attack tunnels

Prelude to something bigger?

We have covered many examples of Hamas attack tunnels from Gaza crossing into southern Israel being discovered and destroyed.

While there have long been rumors that Hezbollah was constructing tunnels under the border with Lebanon in the North, such reports were based mostly on the logic of Hezbollah’s tactics. Hezbollah has been threatening for years that in the next war it would capture part of northern Israel, even if only for a short time.

Israel has been busy building border barriers, including tall concrete walls and carving cliffs into hillsides to slow down an above-ground advance. The best method to quickly get terrorists into Israel would be for them to emerge from tunnels in Israel.

Israel announced earlier today what it calls Operation Northern Shield to destroy cross-border Hezbollah tunnels. The announcement came with a media and social media blitz.

The Times of Israel reports:

Announcing the launch of Operation Northern Shield, IDF spokesperson Lt. Col. Jonathan Conricus said “a number of tunnels” had penetrated Israeli territory and forces were working on the Israeli side of the frontier to destroy them.

“We see Hezbollah’s actions as a flagrant and blatant violation of Israeli sovereignty,” he said.

The military said it believed these tunnels were for offensive purposes, unlike the tunnels and underground bunkers used by Hezbollah during the 2006 Second Lebanon War, which were primarily used for its defensive strategies.

Conricus said the tunnels “are not yet operationally ready” and therefore did not pose an “immediate threat.” ….

The IDF operation began in the predawn hours of Tuesday morning. The military declared the area around the community of Metulla a closed military zone, but gave no other special instructions to Israeli civilians in the area.

Readers may recall that I visited Metula in 20-13, and described the precarious position of this peninsula surrounded by Lebanon and Hezbollah on three sides, Metula and the fake Hezbollah village.

(Metula, Israel – Close Up Map View)

During my visit, the Hezbollah positions nearby were visible on the hilltop. My guide indicated the huge dirt mounts were both defensive and the result of digging.

(Hezbollah fortifications overlooking Metula, Israel)(photo Hadar Sela 2013)

According to a map and information released by the IDF, one of the tunnels started at Kfar Kila (left side of map above) until a point over 130 feet into Israel:

80+ft underground
6ft wide 6ft tall
130ft into Israeli territory
This Hezbollah attack tunnel extends from under a home in southern Lebanon, 600+ feet through solid rock and into Israel.

The IDF has posted several videos, including this one showing the inside of one of the tunnels.

And this video showing Hezbollah terrorists entering a tunnel in Lebanon and coming face-to-face with an IDF camera (see our prior post also)

This video released by a Hezbollah affiliated news station shows the Israelis working on the tunnels. It’s Hezbollah’s way of letting everyone know they are watching:

What’s most interesting is not that Israel found the tunnels. That apparently was done long ago.

This aerial video shows the Hezbollah digging operation:

But that Israel unveiled the tunnels and commenced the operation just as a potential Lebanon war against Iran and Hezbollah was becoming a possibility. Iran’s reportedly has commenced direct shipment of advance missiles and missile parts to Hezbollah in Lebanon by commercial flights, bypassing Syria. By avoiding Syria, Iran avoids the Israeli ability, carried out hundreds of times, of hitting the shipments while before reaching Hezbollah. Iran also reportedly is setting up factories in Lebanon to produce precision missiles for use against Israel, avoiding the need to transport the missiles and guidance systems.

Missiles, not Hezbollah terrorists sneaking under the border, is the real threat to Israel.

So why roll out such a public operation regarding the tunnels?

Netanyahu’s political enemies claim he’s trying to use this to distract from domestic political problems, including a police recommendation that he be indicted for bribery, but that doesn’t fit the timeline. As reported by The Jerusalem Post, the decision as to Operation Norther Shield was taken weeks ago, and may explain Israel’s restraint in the fact of Hamas rockets from Gaza:

With the announcement Tuesday that the IDF launched an operation to destroy Hezbollah terror tunnels that have penetrated into the the Galilee, some of the frustratingly enigmatic comments made by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu last month during the most recent Gaza crisis and how to respond to massive Hamas rocket fire started to clear up.

Netanyahu referred repeatedly during that crisis to things that he could not share with the public, information and considerations that he knew and had but simply could not tell a people hungry to know everything.

At the annual memorial service for David Ben-Gurion on November 14, as 460 rockets had just fallen on southern Israel over a 48-hour period and there was a public clamor for more intensive IDF action, Netanyahu said that in routine times, a leader has to be attentive to the feelings of the public, “and we are a wise people.”

But in times of emergencies, he said, “in times of fateful decisions having to do with security, the public cannot be a partner to the decisive considerations that need to be hidden from the enemy at all cost.”

At these times, Netanyahu said, without elaboration, “leadership is standing up to criticism, when you know secret and sensitive things that you can not share with the people of Israel, and in this case with the residents of the south.”

The discovery of tunnels running from homes and other civilian structures is a reminder that Hezbollah has turned southern Lebanon into one large human shield, with virtually every village hiding rockets and tunnels. Exposing Hezbollah’s human shield strategy will be important to the international media and diplomatic battles should war break out, as almost all of Southern Lebanon has become a legitimate military target. We explored this factor in 2016, Israel: If Hezbollah unleashes its huge missile arsenal, Lebanon is toast.

My view is that the very public exposure of Hezbollah’s cross-border attack tunnels was meant to prepare the public and the international community also for the possibility of a wider war. That could be sparked by an incident, as in 2006 when Hezbollah crossed the border and killed and kidnapped Israeli soldiers. Or it could be that Iran keeps pushing its luck in Lebanon, forcing Israel to take out the advanced missile factories and missile stocks Iran has supplied to Hezbollah.

Either way, Israeli is better off with the tunnels having been destroyed, and the true aggressive nature of Hezbollah having been exposed again.


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From the drilling seen in the video, my guess is that the Israelis plan a string of sequential blasts that will create an immense shock-wave that will destroy tunnels in either direction from the point of initiation.

    MattMusson in reply to Ragspierre. | December 5, 2018 at 10:38 am

    I cannot help but imagine loading down a robot with explosives, running it through the tunnel and detonating it on the originating side, leaving a big crater somewhere in Hezbollah land.

      Far too ineffective. First, drill into the tunnel and pump mercaptan into it. That should clear out any human beings in it, because Hezbollah uses hostages or kidnapees to dig some of these, and we don’t want innocents harmed. Then pump in propane and pure O2 in the correct proportions. Add a spark and watch where the flames and dust cloud emerges on the other end. X million dollars worth of labor and concrete rendered useless as the ground heaves up, then collapses.

        JusticeDelivered in reply to georgfelis. | December 5, 2018 at 6:02 pm

        Draw a westerly line from the north most tip of Israel, then carpet bomb with fuel air devices that area, thereby eliminating all lower forms of life, followed by annexing it. The new border would be much easier to defend, and attacks on the existing border make a good excuse to create a new one.

        Skip the mercaptan. Can’t save everyone. Besides, word will get around that going along with Hamas – even as a captive – is a death sentence.

          Ahem. I’ll try to be civil. Look, you insensitive (censored). If Israel starts blowing up the tunnels *with* workers inside, Hezbollah will start using kidnapped children to dig them just for the propaganda. ‘Nuff said.

Napalm. It is what it is. Git’r’dun.

Jugears and John Kerry’s “Iran Deal” dollars, hard at work.

DouglasJBender | December 4, 2018 at 11:41 pm

Operation “Thumper” sounds about right.

God Bless and Protect Israel!

Cue liberal outrage in 5…4…3…2……

I have long believed that the liberals would only quit being outraged by Isreals defence of its sovereignty when there was a mushroom cloud over Tel Aviv. Anyone paying attention to world history would remember that when the Soviet Union broke up it is believed that there were several suitcase nuclear weapons unaccounted for. These tunnels could be used to bring weapons into Isreal and Hezbollah wouldn’t even have to run massive number of troops through the tunnels. With Iran in the mix that possiblity increases.

The teachings of Islam make lasting peace impossible.

    JusticeDelivered in reply to SpaceInvader. | December 5, 2018 at 6:17 pm

    Muslims only quite killing each other when they are focusing their murderous nature on others. It is really something when people follow crook-criminals (Mormons), con men (Scientologists), or barbarian murdering rapists (Islam).

Why not show Hezbollah that Israel has the technology to locate and destroy the tunnels? Same for Hamas. It’s good for morale in Israel, and may even discourage some tunnel building by Israel’s enemies.

I’d like to see a joint State Department-Treasury Department report providing an estimate of how many hundreds of billions of dollars of international aid the worthless and corrupt
leadership of Hamas, Fatah and Hezb’allah have squandered on terror tunnels, weapons and assorted paraphernalia in service of their jihadist bloodlust, as opposed to spending that aid money on badly-needed civilian infrastructure and establishing a foundation to support economic self-sufficiency, foreign investment and job creation. Plus, the opportunity costs, in dollar terms.

The Arabs’ insatiable jihadist imperative and assorted, infantile acts of violence in service of the same, totally undermine their contrived posture of alleged victimhood. They are totally responsible for their own miseries and suffering.

There is a very simple solution to all this: Israel should merely connect their sewer drains to each tunnel: they’d be rid of the terrorists in the tunnels, and they’d have great pre-dug waste disposal landfills. Flowers would soon grow above.