On January 13, 2019, Israel announced the completion of Operation Northern Shield, carried out to locate and neutralize Hezbollah tunnels penetrating into Israeli territory from Lebanon. According to the announcement, all the tunnels crossing the border had been exposed. Therefore according to the IDF spokesman, the threat of tunnels in Israel’s north had been lifted. The entire operation was carried out inside Israeli territory. The IDF announced it was monitoring a number of sites in Lebanon from which Hezbollah is digging tunnels that have not yet crossed the Israel-Lebanon border (IDF spokesman, January 13, 2019).
- During Operation Northern Shield, which began on December 4, 2018 six tunnels penetrating into Israeli territory were exposed and neutralized. Throughout the operation Hezbollah operatives monitored the IDF’s activity but did not engage in friction with IDF soldiers. The Hezbollah leadership, including its leader Hassan Nasrallah, have so far preserved media silence and made almost no reference to the events.
- The Lebanese government, however, has no appropriate response to Hezbollah’s tunnel project and its gross violation of Security Council Resolution 1701 (which Israel brought before the Security Council). Having no response, on the eve of the end of Operation Northern Shield, the Lebanese government launched a political and media campaign accusing Israel of violating Lebanese sovereignty by constructing a security fence along the border (especially in the region of Adaisseh, across the border from the Israeli community of Misgav Am). Thus the Lebanese government serves the interests of Hezbollah, which wants to focus international and internal Lebanese attention on Israel’s alleged violations of Resolution 1701, deflecting attention from the tunnel project.