Israel estimates weeks remain in operation to destroy Hezbollah tunnels




Israeli soldiers stand near the concrete barrier erected along the border with Lebanon near the northern Israeli town of Metula on December 19, 2018
Israeli soldiers stand near the concrete barrier erected along the border with Lebanon near the northern Israeli town of Metula on December 19, 2018  

Jerusalem (AFP) - Israel's army estimated on Thursday that a few weeks remain in its operation to locate and destroy Hezbollah attack tunnels crossing into its territory from Lebanon.

An army spokesman made the comments as he announced that tunnels found dug from the Lebanese town of Kafr Kila towards the Israeli town of Metula had been successfully destroyed by pumping sealing material into them.

He declined to say how many were found coming from Kafr Kila, but Israel has so far announced the discovery of five cross-border tunnels from different locations in Lebanon since the operation began on December 4.

The army distributed video and photos appearing to show the sealing material flowing out from a building in Lebanon.

"The footage that we have sent clearly indicates exactly what happened and shows beyond any doubt that the tunnels did indeed cross from Lebanon into Israel," army spokesman Jonathan Conricus told journalists.

He added that "we still have probably a few weeks, but that's an estimate ... The operation will end once all of these cross-border attack tunnels have been found and destroyed".

Israel says Hezbollah planned to use the tunnels as part of an attack in a future conflict against it and calls them a violation of the UN resolution that ended the 2006 war between them.

It says it holds the Lebanese government responsible and accuses Hezbollah of using civilian structures as cover to hide the tunnels.

On Wednesday, it said it had used explosives to destroy another cross-border tunnel dug from the Lebanese village of Ayta ash Shab.

The highly publicised operation has gone ahead without drawing a military response from Hezbollah.

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