Unnamed Israeli sources claimed that Russia instructed Beirut to solve the issue of Hezbollah terror tunnels crossing into Israel.
By Uri Bollag – Jerusalem Post
Israel asked the United States for assistance in destroying Hezbollah-dug attack tunnels on the Lebanese side of the border, according to Lebanese daily Al-Akhbar.
The report said that Israel had asked the Trump Administration to pressure the Lebanese Army into cooperating with UNIFIL in Lebanon, to locate and destroy Hezbollah’s attack tunnels, while Israel carries out its Operation Northern Shield on the Israeli side of the border.
Israel maintained that the US could exert pressure by threatening to cut military aid to the Lebanese Army, Al-Akhbar said.
“The refusal of international forces to carry out operations beyond their mandate would require the Lebanese government to do the work itself,” the report quoted Western diplomats in Beirut as saying.
Israel reportedly wanted to expand and strengthen UNIFIL’s authority in Lebanon, on the basis of Hezbollah violating the United Nation Security Council’s resolution 1701, which established the cease-fire between Israel and Lebanon after the 2006 conflict. By increasing UNIFIL’s mandate, Israel hoped to fight back against Hezbollah’s terror activity.
Yesterday, Israeli sources told Ma’ariv Russia instructed Beirut to solve the issue of Hezbollah terror tunnels crossing into Israel.
London based newspaper Asharq Al-Awsat also reported about the Russian request to the Lebanese Monday morning.
Such a request, made by the Russians, carries a lot of weight due to the influence Moscow has on Hezbollah. Alongside Syria, Hezbollah views Russia as an ally in the Syrian civil war. Israeli army officials, speaking on condition of anonymity, think the Russian request will speed the Lebanese to handle the terror tunnels.
Tal Lev Ram contributed to this report.