United Nations peacekeepers have confirmed the existence of a tunnel in northern Israel near the Lebanese border, just days after Tel Aviv accused Hezbollah's armed group of digging under the border.
In a statement issued on Thursday, the UN Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) said it had "visited a site near Metula in northern Israel" and "can confirm the existence of a site tunnel".
UNIFIL stated that it was "in contact with the parties for urgent follow-up" and "communicate their preliminary findings to the competent authorities in Lebanon".
The UN affirmation came one day after Lebanon said Israel had not produced any evidence to prove its allegations of a network of attack tunnels allegedly constructed by Hezbollah.
At a meeting with UN peacekeepers on Wednesday, Nabih Berri, spokesman for the Lebanese parliament, said the Israeli accusation was not based on "factual facts".
# Operation Northern Shield & # 39;
On Tuesday, Israel launched an operation called "Northern Shield" to destroy tunnels allegedly found along the Lebanese border.
The Israeli military said that they had provided UNIFL with a map of the area around the village of Ramieh, marking houses that were "connected to another attack tunnel dug out of Lebanon in Israel," said Lieutenant Colonel Jonathan Conricus ,
The tunnel leads to Israel, but is not yet operational.
Israel has not specified in detail how many tunnels were discovered, although Cornicus said on Thursday that the army was working in three different areas along the border.
The operation is part of Israel's wider campaign against Hezbollah, including measures to combat the Group's weapons assets.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said this week that Hezbollah plans to send assassins through the tunnels, claiming they are big enough to be used by motorcycles, small vehicles and groups of people.
"Hezbollah wants to introduce several battalions into our territory to isolate communities, cities and kibbutzim [collective farms] to continue his reign of terror and abductions that could take place at the same time, "he said on Thursday to a meeting of foreign diplomats.
Israel estimates that Hezbollah has about 130,000 missiles in the arsenal, but rejects the group's claim that it has successfully acquired precision missiles.
"Despite Hezbollah's efforts to insinuate something different, it does not have significant accurate capabilities," Conricus said.