Twenty-four hours after the IDF began operation Northern Shield, to locate and destroy Hezbollah terrorist tunnels from Southern Lebanon into Northern Israel, life continues as usual for northern area residents. The IDF is using its most technologically advanced apparatus to detect terror tunnels that pose a threat to Israel’s security.
As reported on the first day of the operation, Tuesday, 26 Kislev, a two-hundred meter (220 yards) tunnel was located; situated 25 meters (80 feet) deep underground, a paved tunnel with electricity that provided a platform for terrorists to cross into Northern Israel to perpetrate terror attacks. IDF Lt.-Colonel Jonathan Conricus, a military spokesman, confirmed the tunnel was not yet ready to use to launch an attack. He added that none of the area residents were going to have to evacuate and no reserve duty units are being activated for the operation.
In his address to the nation on Tuesday evening following his briefing to the Political-Security Cabinet, Prime Minister/Defense Minister Binyamin Netanyahu confirmed the day’s success, the discovery of the tunnel explaining intelligence reports indicate there are more and that the operation is going to continue during the coming weeks. He stressed this was not a limited counter-strike that ends in a moment, but a prolonged operation that was decided upon weeks ago, which will continue “for as long as necessary”, stating activities will continue until the objectives set for approving the operation are met.
IDF Chief of Staff Lt.-General Gadi Eizenkott visited the northern border on Tuesday and he was briefed by Northern District commander Major-General Yosel Strik, who is commanding the operation. Also, present was the Commander of the Galil Outpost Brigadier-General Rafi Milo, and together, the three also briefed a number of northern community leaders regarding the ongoing operation.
Speaking from the Kirya Defense Ministry in Tel Aviv later in the day, PM Netanyahu said, “This is a highly classified offensive project by Hezbollah, and this morning we set out to thwart the tunnels in our territory in a joint effort to defeat the threat and continue to damage Iran’s stability,” the prime minister said. The operation will continue for a few more weeks,” Eizenkott stressed in his review of what is yet to take place.
IDF Spokesman Ronen Manelis revealed: “We have followed the structure from 2014 and at this time, the IDF continues to remove and neutralize the terrorist tunnels in southern Lebanon.” Manelis showed documentation from a special camera that the IDF deployed, documenting Hezbollah operatives inside the terror tunnel that was exposed in Israeli territory and bombarded with explosives. The tunnel’s exit was located in a patch of farmland southwest of Metula, a municipality located along the northern border.
“For years, Hezbollah and Hamas invested huge sums in building the tunnel weapons and invested efforts in concealing this tool,” Netanyahu said, “systematically, coolly and decisively we are dismantling this weapon.”
Regarding the decision to launch the operation, Netanyahu said: “A few weeks ago we made the decision to act in accordance with the operational needs and the operation was launched this morning.”
He turned to the citizens of Israel: “Two weeks ago you heard me speak and ask you to be tolerant, and now I say: You see a small part of the actions to ensure Israel’s security in all the sectors. We light a third candle of Chanukah and remind us of the heroism of the Maccabees, the soldiers and soldiers of the IDF are the modern Maccabees.”
Officials stress that at present, as the operation continues, there are no special instructions for northern area residents and people are instructed to continue living according to one’s regular routine and visitors are welcome as usually, without any restrictions.
(YWN Israel Desk – Jerusalem/Photo Credit: IDF Spokesman Unit)