Israel Announces Conclusion of Operation Northern Shield as Sixth Hezbollah Tunnel Uncovered

PM Netanyahu in the north.
Photo courtesy of Haim Zach / Israeli GPO.

Israel on Sunday announced the end of Operation Northern Shield, in connection with their uncovering of a sixth cross-border tunnel linking Israel and Lebanon. The terror tunnels, built by Hezbollah in violation of United Nations Resolution 1701, are believed to have been intended as a method to send terrorists into Israeli territory to launch attacks.

On Sunday, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu reported the “successful close” to the operation aimed at neutralizing the tunnels in comments released by his office, while also noting the danger that had been posed by the underground structures.

“I think that everyone understands that a very serious threat was averted here. Hezbollah’s operational plan was to use the tunnels weapon to infiltrate many fighters, between 1,000-2,000 terrorists, into the Galilee, to seize communities here,” said Netanyahu. “Everyone understands how the war would look if Hezbollah battalions were in the Galilee, and with the Iranian army opposite the Golan Heights. We have prevented this—and will continue to prevent it.”

The sixth and latest tunnel uncovered was the largest according to Netanyahu. The Arabic spokesperson for the Israeli Prime Minister, Ofir Gendelman, posted to Twitter the sizable dimensions of the tunnel on Sunday along with a picture of the structure. “180ft deep. 2624ft dug inside Lebanon. Dozens of yards dug inside Israel. This is #Hezbollah’s SIXTH attack tunnel was dug from Lebanon into Israel. We have now exposed all of Hezbollah’s attack tunnels. We have taken out Hezbollah’s doom’s day weapon,” he tweeted.

The Hezbollah tunnels are not their only weapon against Israel, as they are believed to have tens of thousands of rockets as well. Hezbollah acts as the terror proxy of Iran in Lebanon, but has also emerged as a powerful political force in the country as well. The United States is not content with this situation.

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, in a speech last week at the American University in Cairo, Egypt, emphasized this to the audience. “Hezbollah remains a major presence, but we won’t accept this status quo. Our aggressive sanctions campaign against Iran is also directed at the terror group and its leaders,” said Pompeo during the speech, which was republished by the State Department.

He later specifically address Hezbollah’s missiles in Lebanon. “The United States will work to reduce the threat of Hezbollah’s missile arsenal, which is aimed at Israel and can reach all points inside of that country. Many of these rockets are equipped with advance guidance systems, courtesy of Iran, and that’s unacceptable,” said Pompeo last Thursday. “Iran may think it owns Lebanon. Iran is wrong.”

Israel too will continue their efforts to counter Hezbollah threats, even as they celebrate their latest victory over the tunnels.

“We will continue to monitor all activity by Hezbollah, and by Iran and its proxies. We will do whatever is necessary to ensure the security of Israel,” said Netanyahu.

“…This exceptional achievement, which was carried out over several weeks of neutralizing Hezbollah’s tunnels weapon, is one that no other army in the world has. No one has succeeded in operating in such a way, so quickly and so effectively.”

(By Joshua Spurlock,, January 13, 2019)

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