Is­rael de­mands border tun­nel be de­stroyed

Otago Daily Times - - WEEKEND WORLD -

JERUSALEM: Is­rael told Le­banon’s army and UN peace­keep­ers yesterday to de­stroy a tun­nel it said had been dug by the Ira­ni­an­backed Hizbol­lah move­ment across the border into Is­raeli ter­ri­tory.

Is­rael’s mil­i­tary said this week it had iden­ti­fied some pas­sages and sent dig­gers and troops close the fron­tier to block them.

The peace­keep­ers, the United Nations In­terim Force in Le­banon (UNIFIL), con­firmed the ex­is­tence of a tun­nel near the ‘‘blue line’’ fron­tier be­tween the two coun­tries yesterday, de­scrib­ing it as a ‘‘se­ri­ous oc­cur­rence’’.

Is­rael said its op­er­a­tion would stop on its side of the border. But Is­raeli me­dia on Wed­nes­day quoted a un­named se­nior of­fi­cial say­ing Is­rael could broaden its ac­tions into Le­banon.

There was no im­me­di­ate re­ac­tion from Hizbol­lah or Le­banese au­thor­i­ties.

A US at­tempt to get the United Nations to con­demn vi­o­lence by Pales­tinian mil­i­tant group Ha­mas for the first time failed yesterday be­cause the draft res­o­lu­tion fell short of votes needed in the Gen­eral Assem­bly.

The res­o­lu­tion re­quired twothirds sup­port and while assem­bly res­o­lu­tions are non­bind­ing, they can carry po­lit­i­cal weight. The US text re­ceived 87 votes in favour, 58 against and 32 ab­sten­tions. Six­teen coun­tries did not vote.

The US is work­ing on a lon­gawaited plan to bro­ker peace be­tween Is­rael and the Pales­tini­ans, but the Pales­tini­ans have ac­cused the Trump ad­min­is­tra­tion of sid­ing with Is­rael on core is­sues.

For more than a decade Gaza has been con­trolled by Ha­mas un­der an Is­raeli­Egyp­tian block­ade. The econ­omy has col­lapsed, cre­at­ing what the World Bank de­scribes as a hu­man­i­tar­ian cri­sis. — Reuters

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