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memri
December 5, 2018 No.
7793

Past MEMRI Reports: Lebanese Press On Hizbullah Tunneling Into Israel

On December 4, 2018, Israeli media reported that the IDF had launched "Operation Northern Shield" to locate and neutralize terror tunnels excavated by Hizbullah that originate in Lebanese territory and reach deep into Israel and threaten its northern settlements.[1]

MEMRI has previously translated reports from the Lebanese press about such tunnels, from both pro- and anti-Hizbullah publications. According to one of these reports, Hizbullah taught Hamas to use of tunnel warfare against Israel.

The following is a review of past reports in the Lebanese press about Hizbullah tunneling into Israel.


Current Israeli operations to destroy Hizbullah tunnels on the border (image: http://central-media.org , December 3, 2018)

Al-Mustaqbal Daily, January 2017: Hizbullah Has Forward Positions On Border With Israel, Including Tunnels

On January 18, 2017, the Lebanese daily Al-Mustaqbal, which is owned by Lebanese Prime Minister Sa'd Al-Hariri, a prominent political rival of Hizbullah, published a report indicating that Hizbullah was operating south of the Litani River, in violation of UN Security Council Resolution 1701. The report stated: "Hizbullah has concealed forward positions on the international [Lebanon-Israel] border, including tunnels it dug over 10 years ago, especially in the Al-Labouna area, south of Al-Naqoura. [This area] overlooks the Palestinian coast and the [Israeli] towns of Shlomi and Nahariya."[2]

Al-Safir Daily, May 2016: Hizbullah Operatives Are Digging Tunnels At Israel's Border

On May 25, 2016, the Lebanese daily Al-Safir, which was known for its pro-Hizbullah stance,[3] published a front- page article celebrating "Liberation Day," i.e. the 16th anniversary of Israel's withdrawal from South Lebanon. The article, which appeared without a byline, analyzed the current situation of Hizbullah (which it called "the resistance") as well as its combat activity on the Syrian and Israeli fronts.

Adding that along with its fighting in Syria, Hizbullah is continuing its activity against Israel, the article added that resistance fighters were working day and night on the Israeli border "conducting observations, preparing, and digging tunnels that cause the settlers and enemy soldiers to lose sleep."

It stated: "It is right to say that the men of resistance on the eastern border complement the mission of the first men of resistance [who operate against Israel], who work day and night [on the border, from] the last border point in Al-Naquora to [the one in] Kfar Shouba, conducting observations, preparing, and digging tunnels that cause the settlers and enemy soldiers to lose sleep. [All this they do] without abandoning the [other] tasks of the resistance, which stands ready, openly and secretly, throughout Lebanon, and especially in the Southern Dahiya, to prevent any terrorist attack by the takfiris, in full coordination with the Lebanese army and Lebanon's other security apparatuses. There might be further expansion of Hizbullah's battle front, in accordance with future challenges, and this expansion turns this Lebanese group [Hizbullah], which was established 34 years ago in Sheikh 'Abdallah's base in Baalbek, into a regional force that formulates new equations in the region..."[4]

Al-Akhbar Daily, January 2014: It Was Hizbullah That Taught Hamas How To Dig Tunnels

In a January 13, 2014 article, Ibrahim Al Amin, editor-in-chief of the pro-Hizbullah Al-Akhbar daily, claimed that it was Hizbullah that had taught Hamas how to dig tunnels. He wrote that according to information obtained by Hizbullah, near the town of Al-Qusayr and in other areas in Syria Hamas members or armed operatives affiliated with them who had fought in the ranks of the Syrian opposition had dug tunnels and used them "the same way that Hizbullah had trained Hamas to do during the period when there was collaboration [between the two organizations] to smuggle weapons into the Gaza Strip and to consolidate a military plan against Israeli attacks on the [Gaza] Strip..."[5]

 

[1] Palestinian journalist 'Abd Al-Bari 'Atwan, editor of the e-daily raialyoum.com, wrote on December 4, 2018 that tunnels may also exist in the Golan, and noted that Hizbullah is the one that invented the tunnel method and imported it to Gaza, Syria, Yemen and perhaps also Iraq.

[3] The Al-Safir daily closed in January 1, 2017, due to financial difficulties.

[5] Al-Akhbar (Lebanon), January 13, 2014. See also MEMRI Special Dispatch No. 6447, Lebanese 'Al-Safir' Daily Marks 16th Anniversary Of Israel's Withdrawal From South Lebanon: Hizbullah Is Digging Tunnels On Israel Border, May 25, 2016.