Lebanon Says Israel Has Shown No Proof of Hezbollah Tunnels

Information & Technology

Israel has shown no evidence to back up its charge that Hezbollah built tunnels for an attack inside Israel, Lebanon's influential speaker of parliament said Wednesday.

Nabih Berri, a Hezbollah ally, said Israel "did not present any information" at its weekly meeting with Lebanese military officials and UN peacekeepers.

The peacekeepers said all sides agreed that a UN team would go to Israel Thursday to "ascertain the facts."

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu telephoned Secretary-General Antonio Guterres Wednesday, saying he expects the U.N. to "condemn the blatant violation of Israeli sovereignty."

State-run Lebanese media report the foreign ministry will submit a formal complaint to the U.N. about what it calls "repeated Israeli violations."

Israel launched a military operation to destroy a network of tunnels it says are aimed at sneaking terrorists into Israel from Lebanon.

"These cross-border terror tunnels were built by Hezbollah with direct support and funding by Iran. They were built with one purpose in mind: to attack and murder innocent Israeli men, women, and children," Netanyahu said.

The army says it has been tracking the tunnels for nearly four years after residents of the Israeli border town of Metula told them they could hear digging.

The army says one of the tunnels runs from a house just across the Lebanese border to farmland south of Metula.

It says the tunnel was equipped with electricity, communications cables, and air pipes, but was not yet ready for use.

Israel and Hezbollah have avoided major fighting since a 2006 war sparked by a Hezbollah raid into Israel and the kidnapping of two Israeli soldiers.

But Israel has consistently accused Hezbollah of violating a UN resolution ordering it to stay away from the southern Lebanese border.

Israel has also fired airstrikes into Syria against what it says are Hezbollah stashes of Iranian-supplied arms.

U.S. National Security Advisor John Bolton says the United States "strongly supports Israel's efforts to defend its sovereignty," saying Iran and its "agents" must stop their aggression.

Source: Voice of America