No proof of bor­der tun­nels

Le­banese army calls is­raeli re­ports of tun­nels across the bor­der ‘al­le­ga­tions’

The Daily Press (Timmins) - - CLASSIFIEDS -

beiruT — le­banon’s Par­lia­ment speaker said Wed­nes­day that is­rael has pre­sented no ev­i­dence to prove its claims that a net­work of at­tack tun­nels has been built by hezbol­lah across the coun­tries’ shared bor­ders.

The uN peace­keep­ing mis­sion mean­while said Wed­nes­day it will send a team to is­rael to “as­cer­tain facts,” call­ing for full ac­cess to all lo­ca­tions along the bor­der.

The is­raeli mil­i­tary Tues­day launched an open-ended oper­a­tion to de­stroy tun­nels built by hezbol­lah it said are aimed at in­fil­trat­ing north­ern is­rael.

is­raeli forces did not en­ter le­banese ter­ri­tory. They were seen op­er­at­ing in what looked like a con­struc­tion site, with trucks bring­ing in equip­ment and drills and bull­doz­ers dig­ging in the open ter­ri­tory and farm­lands in­side north­ern is­rael. hezbol­lah had no im­me­di­ate com­ment on the claims or the is­raeli ac­tiv­i­ties across the bor­der.

On Wed­nes­day, Nabih berri, le­banon’s par­lia­ment speaker and ally of hezbol­lah, said is­rael of­fered no “co-or­di­nates or in­for­ma­tion” about the tun­nels dur­ing the reg­u­lar weekly meet­ing held at the uN po­si­tion in south­ern le­banon. his com­ments were car­ried by the Na­tional News agency.

in a state­ment Wed­nes­day, the le­banese army called is­raeli re­ports of tun­nels across the bor­der “al­le­ga­tions.” it called on is­rael to present spe­cific co-or­di­nates and in­for­ma­tion about the lo­ca­tion of such tun­nels. The army urged is­rael not to carry out any work in­side le­banese ter­ri­tory.

The uN mis­sion, known as uNiFil, said its reg­u­lar weekly meet­ing with the le­banese and is­raeli armies dis­cussed is­rael’s “ac­tiv­i­ties” search­ing for sus­pected tun­nels.

ali bazzi, a law­maker from berri’s par­lia­men­tary bloc, said is­rael had no ev­i­dence to its claims, call­ing them a “dis­trac­tion” and an at­tempt by is­rael’s Prime min­is­ter ben­jamin Ne­tanyahu to “evade” pos­si­ble new in­dict­ment at home for cor­rup­tion charges.

There was no im­me­di­ate com­ment from is­rael on the ex­pected visit.

un­der the uN res­o­lu­tion that ended the 2006 war be­tween is­rael and hezbol­lah, hezbol­lah is barred from op­er­at­ing in south­ern le­banon. is­rael has long ac­cused it of vi­o­lat­ing the res­o­lu­tion. le­banon says is­rael, too, reg­u­larly vi­o­lated its air, sea and land spa­ces.

“i em­pha­size the crit­i­cal role of our li­ai­son and co-or­di­na­tion mech­a­nisms in mit­i­gat­ing ten­sions through con­tin­u­ous com­mu­ni­ca­tion, at the heart of which is the Tri­par­tite fo­rum,” said head of uNiFil mis­sion maj. Gen. ste­fano del col.

he ap­pealed to both sides in us­ing the mech­a­nisms to “avoid mis­un­der­stand­ings and en­sure that se­cu­rity and sta­bil­ity” along the bor­der is main­tained and re­in­forced.

The is­raeli mil­i­tary said it had pro­tec­tively in­creased forces along the bor­der and warned hezbol­lah to keep its dis­tance from the tun­nels.

Ariel SchAlit/THE AS­SO­CI­ATED PRESS

Is­raeli mil­i­tary dig­ger works on the bor­der with Le­banon in the north­ern Is­raeli town of Me­tula, on Tues­day.

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