IDF begins underground barrier in north to block Hezbollah tunnels

Seeded with sensors, the barrier will detect any new Hezbollah attempts to dig terror tunnels into Israel.

By Batya Jerenberg, World Israel News

The IDF began work Sunday on an underground barrier on the northern border that will notify Israel in real time if Hezbollah will try to restart its terror tunnel project, according to the Israeli military.

In announcing the newest defensive venture, IDF spokesman Brig. Gen. Hidai Zilberman clarified that the IDF does not believe any new tunnels are in the works. The purpose of the work that has begun near Kibbutz Misgav Am and which “will be seen both in Israel and in Lebanon” is “to prevent escalation,” he said.

“We continue to work on the intelligence, engineering, and technological levels” to prevent the terror organization from repeating its attempts to get into Israeli territory underground, said the spokesman.

“The infrastructure is designed to detect seismic and acoustic noises,” Zilberman explained. “We will expand it to nearby communities in the coming years, depending on an assessment of the situation and our budget.”

The IDF says that the state-of-the-art barrier is part of the Defensive Obstacle Project that was begun in 2016 at the Gaza border, in Israel’s south, to prevent terror tunnels from being dug into Israel by the Hamas terror organization, which has controlled the Gaza Strip since overthrowing the Palestinian Authority in 2007.

In the north, this has included building a security wall in certain areas along the border, creating cliffs and clearing vegetation to make it easier to spot digging activity.

IDF spokesman Lt. Col. Jonathan Conricus said that the UNIFIL peacekeepers stationed in Lebanon were notified of Israel’s intentions and that all the work would be done on Israel’s side of the border.

Last year, the IDF discovered six tunnels running from inside Lebanese villages toward and into Israel. In Operation Northern Shield, the army destroyed or neutralized them using explosives or liquid concrete. Israel received official confirmation from the UNIFIL commander that the tunnels were “a grave violation” of U.N. Security Council Resolution 1701 that ended the Second Lebanon War in 2006.

Jerusalem’s demand that the Lebanese army take charge of the border area instead of Iran-backed Hezbollah – a key component of the resolution – has yet to be fulfilled.