Situation in southern Lebanon calm despite Israeli operations: army

Minnie Murray
December 6, 2018

"The army command assures that the situation is calm. and is being followed up on", Elnashra, an online independent newspaper, quoted the army as saying.

The Lebanese army said it was carrying out normal operations along the border in coordination with UNIFIL peacekeeping forces.

The army said the operation was for now confined to Israel and did not extend into Lebanon, where the tunnels originated.

Al Mayadin, another Lebanese television network close to Iran and the Shiite movement, is also now ignoring the operation against Hezbollah's alleged tunnels in Israeli territory.

Bolton's expressed support of Israel's right to self-defense against the Iran-backed terrorist group echoed sentiments expressed by U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Monday, after he met with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Brussels.

The situation appeared calm on the Lebanese side of the border where United Nations peacekeepers and Lebanese troops were deployed as usual, a Reuters journalist there said.

President Donald Trump's national security adviser, John Bolton, said "the U.S. strongly supports Israel's efforts to defend its sovereignty".

Later the military specified it had located one such tunnel dug from a home in the area of Kafr Kela in southern Lebanon that crossed into its territory and was working to "neutralise" it.

Bolton called on Hezbollah to "stop its tunneling into Israel and to refrain from escalation and violence".

The military has used various means to collapse or fill in tunnels from the Gaza Strip. It said the army had boosted its presence and readiness and was prepared for "various scenarios". "We see this as a very serious situation that hurts Lebanon and the citizens of Lebanon, and we hold the Lebanese government accountable".

Lieberman's resignation threatened to trigger early elections, but Netanyahu has held his coalition together and is clinging to a one-seat majority in parliament.

Netanyahu is also facing further political pressure after Israeli police on Sunday recommended he and his wife Sara be indicted for bribery, the third such recommendation against the premier in recent months.

Israel appears concerned that Iran is trying to transfer some of its military influence from Syria, where Russian Federation is the government's top ally, to Lebanon.

Israeli soldiers guard near the border with Lebanon, in the town of Metulla, northern Israel December 4, 2018.

Israel and Hezbollah have avoided major conflict across the Lebanese-Israeli border since their last war in 2006, though Israel has mounted attacks in Syria targeting what it said were advanced weapon deliveries to the Shi'ite Muslim group.

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