Israel’s prime minister Wednesday called on the U.N. Security Council to condemn “wanton acts of aggression” by the Lebanese militant group Hezbollah, designate it a terrorist organization and heighten sanctions on it over attack tunnels it has dug into Israel.
Benjamin Netanyahu said the council should “stand up for the truth” when it meets to discuss the tunnels Israel recently uncovered on the Lebanon border during “Operation Northern Shield.” The Israeli military is engaged in the open-ended operation to identify and destroy the cross-border passageways, of which four have already been uncovered. Israel says they were built by Hezbollah militants to carry out attacks on Israeli civilians and try to conquer its northern tip.
“This is not merely an act of aggression. This is an act of war,” Netanyahu said. “The people of Lebanon have to understand that Hezbollah is putting them in jeopardy and we expect Lebanon to take action against this.”
Hezbollah, which has used such tunnels inside Lebanon before, has yet to comment.
Israel has long called for a crackdown on the Iranian-backed Hezbollah, a heavily armed mini-army with an arsenal of some 150,000 rockets that can reach nearly all of Israel. The two sides are bitter enemies and fought an inconclusive monthlong war in 2006. In recent years, Hezbollah has been bogged down in fighting on behalf of Bashar Assad’s regime in Syria. But with that civil war winding down, Israeli security officials fear it is now refocusing its attention on Israel.
Netanyahu said Hezbollah was currently using every third house in villages in southern Lebanon for its aggression. He called their activity a “double war crime” since it threatened to harm Israeli civilians and put Lebanese civilians in danger as well.
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