Netanyahu expresses pride as IDF uncovers first tunnel in Operation Northern Shield

“Anyone who tries to harm the state of Israel will pay a heavy price,” Netanyahu warned Hezbollah.

By Jack Gold, World Israel News

“Anyone who tries to harm the state of Israel will pay a heavy price,” Netanyahu warned Hezbollah on Tuesday as the Israel Defense Forces continued its large-scale operation to destroy the terror organization’s tunneling operations.

The IDF launched Operation Northern Shield early Tuesday morning to expose and destroy terror tunnels dug by Hezbollah from Lebanon into Israel. It’s operating at several points inside Israeli territory along its northern border with Lebanon, with several areas declared a closed military zone.

“We are proud of the IDF commanders and fighters for the complex operations and operational successes in the early stages of the operation,” Netanyahu tweeted. “We act with determination and responsibility in all sectors simultaneously. We will continue with other actions, overt and covert, in order to ensure Israel’s security.”

Just hours into the operation, the IDF revealed it had uncovered a Hezbollah attack tunnel running under Israel’s border with Lebanon, built “with the intention of harming Israeli civilians,” the Israeli Army said Tuesday.

IDF spokesman Brig.-General Ronen Manelis said that the tunnel was excavated from inside a private home. The tunnel took two years to dig and was 200 meters long, with 40 of of those meters running into Israeli territory.

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“This is a very complex excavation and the process takes a long time,” said Manelis. Unlike the tunnels built by Hamas and running out of Gaza, Hezbollah’s tunnels have been dug through rock and not sand, and a person can stand up to his full height in them.

Manelis underscored that the tunnels were not yet operational and have not yet become a threat to Israeli communities.

“We see Hezbollah’s activities as a flagrant and blatant violation of Israeli sovereignty,” IDF spokesman Lt. Col Jonathan Conricus said. “This activity is another example of the negative effects of Iranian entrenchment in the region.”

The terror organization has so far remained silent on the IDF’s operation.