Russia warns Lebanon over Hezbollah tunnels

Russia warned Lebanon that it bears responsibility for Hezbollah terror tunnels running into Israeli territory.  

By Jack Gold, World Israel News 

Following the recent exposure of Hezbollah cross-border tunnels, Russia has warned Lebanon against breaching Israeli territory, the London-based A-Sharq Al-Awsat Arabic-language newspaper reported Monday.

Since launching Operation Northern Shield two weeks ago, the IDF has so far exposed four Hezbollah tunnels.

According to the report, the Russians sent a letter to the Lebanese government warning them not to violate U.N. Resolution 1701.

U.N. Security Council Resolution 1701 was passed in 2006 at the conclusion of the Second Lebanon War, demanding a full cessation of hostilities, a withdrawal by Hezbollah to the Blue Line, and that the government of Lebanon and the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) deploy their forces in the South. Israel has repeatedly charged that Hezbollah violated the resolution on many occasions.

The report was published after senior IDF officials met with their Russian counterparts last week in Moscow, where the Russians were updated on the details of Operation Northern Shield.

According to a source cited by the newspaper, the Russians turned to the Lebanese government despite Hezbollah’s responsibility for the tunnels. The move is consistent with Israel’s statements that it views the Lebanese government as responsible for any actions emanating from its territory that would harm Israeli sovereignty.

Hezbollah’s tunnels will be discussed by the U.N. Security Council on Wednesday.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu spoke by telephone with Russian President Vladimir Putin Saturday evening and updated him on the details of Operation Northern Shield and Israel’s continuing objective to foil the tunnel threat. Netanyahu reiterated Israel’s policy to prevent the establishment of an Iranian presence in Syria and to act against Iranian and Hezbollah aggression.

According to the Kremlin’s statement, Putin stressed to Netanyahu the need to maintain stability in the border area with Lebanon

The two leaders also discussed the situation in Syria, and according to the Russians, Putin emphasized the need to maintain cooperation between the IDF and the Russian army.

Touring Israel’s north on Sunday, Israeli President Reuven Rivlin warned that “Hezbollah’s offensive tunnels into Israeli territory are a clear violation of Israeli sovereignty. Hezbollah, which pretends to be the ‘shield of Lebanon’ will, in the end, lead to its destruction.”

Israel views “the Lebanese government as responsible for everything that happens in the country and we warn Hezballah not to subordinate Lebanon to Iran’s agenda or to use Lebanon as a base for attacking Israel,” he added.

He also addressed the international community, saying that it “must understand that Israel will do what is necessary to defend itself, and that Israel demands international involvement in enforcing United Nations Security Council resolutions.”