The first Hezbollah tunnel exposed by the IDF had been dug right next to a UNIFIL position.
By World Israel News Staff
It turns out that the first Hezbollah tunnel the Israeli Army exposed yesterday had been dug right under the noses of UNIFIL, (The United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon) whose mandate is to monitor the cessation of hostilities and keep the area between the Blue Line and the Litani River free of hostile forces.
“The tunnel was dug from a civilian building that served as a civilian block factory up until 2014, only a few meters from a UNIFIL position and UNIFIL patrols, whose mission is to enforce Resolution 1701,” said IDF Spokesman Ronen Manelis.
Resolution 1701, unanimously approved by the U.N., was meant to resolve the Second Lebanon War in 2006. UNIFIL was tasked with ensuring its various provisions were fulfilled, including full respect for the Blue Line, the border between Israel and Lebanon.
“Our monitoring of this structure from 2014 showed that civilian activity in the building declined and military activity began to increase,” Manelis said. “We started to see unusual activity under the guise of civilians, vehicles and trucks transporting dirt from the building to a nearby area … in fact they were clearing the dirt from the tunnel construction. Hezbollah tried to hide this from us, from Lebanon civilians and from UNIFIL.”
According to Ynet news, in October 2015, a military generator was identified at the site, and a month after that a guard post was placed at the factory.
Digging of the tunnel took at least two years, and out of the 200 meters that were dug, 40 meters penetrated into Israeli territory. The tunnel was 25 meters deep, six feet wide and a man could walk upright in it. It had electrical and ventilation systems, and unlike the Hamas tunnels, the walls are rocky and natural, Ynet reports.
Two Hezbollah terrorists were captured on film in the tunnel shortly after the Israel Defense Forces inserted a small camera down into it. A small charge was attached to the camera and one of the terrorists in the video can be seen inspecting it, and after realizing there was an explosive device, starts running away as the charge detonates.
The village from where the tunnel was dug, Kfar Kila, is close to the Israeli border and is home to some 15,000 Shiites. It’s considered a Hezbollah stronghold.
Warnings from residents
According to Israeli daily Maariv, Israeli residents had warned for years about digging on the Lebanese side of the border.
Yossi Adoni, head of the community council of Moshav Zarit, which lies near the border, told Maariv:
“In the last few years, we warned and transferred information and reports to the Army from tens of residents who recorded movements along the border of trucks moving dirt and of terrorists entering shafts in the ground in Lebanese territory. In addition, dozens of residents reported hearing noises coming from the ground at night.”
“Unfortunately, at the time the army was scornful and ridiculed our reports. and until 2013 didn’t pay attention to them. And so we were forced into a fight,” Adoni said.
“We closed the settlement. We invited the media. I also brought in private contractors to carry out tests with technological devices, and since then the Army took the threat with more seriousness and looked into it more deeply. ”
“We welcome the fact that the Army decided to embark on this operation and to start working on a ‘high signature’, as it is called in military language, and not like in recent years,” Adoni told Maariv.
“We’ve already been aware of the situation for several years now. … We were treated with contempt at the time … I personally had a run in with former head of the Northern Command Yair Golan, who poured accusations on me that we’re hallucinating and fantasizing, that it’s impossible to dig in the rocky soil of the north and there are no tunnels.”