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Copyright © 2019 The American Israel Public Affairs Committee

Israel Acts to Destroy Hezbollah Attack Tunnels

The IDF launched operation Northern Shield on Monday night to destroy Hezbollah tunnels crossing the Lebanese border into Israel. (AP/Ariel Schalit)

Overnight, Israel launched operation Northern Shield to identify and destroy Hezbollah tunnels crossing from Lebanon into Israel.

  • The tunnels blatantly violate Israeli sovereignty and U.N. Security Council Resolutions 1701 and 1559.

  • The tunnels are designed by Hezbollah to launch offensives against Israel. The tunnels are highly sophisticated and can be used for large-scale terrorist operations.

  • One tunnel extended 40 yards into Israel near the city of Metulla. The tunnel was 80 feet deep, dug through solid rock. At 6 feet wide by 6 feet tall, the tunnel was capable of transporting large numbers of vehicles and personnel, as well as sizable weapons.

  • Hezbollah placed the tunnel's entrance in Lebanon beneath a civilian home—highlighting Hezbollah’s ongoing use of human shields.

  • The failure of the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) to detect these tunnels underlines UNIFIL's unacceptable ineffectiveness in carrying out its mandate.

The United States should continue to support Israel’s efforts to protect its citizens and defend its borders.

  • Congress must complete work on the Sanctioning the Use of Civilians as Defenseless Shields Act (H.R. 3342). This bipartisan legislation imposes new sanctions on Hezbollah for its violations of international law by placing terrorist infrastructure among civilian populations.

  • Congress must continue to support funding for joint U.S.-Israel countertunneling cooperation. In this fiscal year, Congress provided $47.5 million for such efforts.

  • The administration must strictly enforce the Hizballah International Financing Prevention Amendments Act of 2018, which was signed into law in October. This bipartisan legislation targets foreign governments that knowingly provide significant financial support to Hezbollah and foreign individuals and companies that aid its fundraising or recruitment activities.

  • The administration must also continue to press UNIFIL to take effective action to carry out its mandate and ensure that southern Lebanon is free of armed activity outside the control of the Lebanese government.

Type: Memo