Israel has launched an operation as of Monday night to destroy tunnels between Lebanon and Israel which were dug by Hezbollah, the Lebanese Shiite resistance movement.
Israeli Defense Force (IDF) announced “Operation Northern Shield” Tuesday after demolition efforts had already begun. The IDF said in a tweet that their aim is “to expose and neutralize cross-border attack tunnels dug by Hezbollah from Lebanon to Israel.”
The Israeli army said there have been suspicions that Hezbollah was constructing “attack tunnels” leading into Israel from Lebanon since the 2006 war. For now, the tunnels do not appear to be operational but still pose "an imminent threat," the Israeli military said.
The operation remains on Israeli soil, though there is a possible threat of escalation. "Whoever tries to harm Israel will pay a heavy price," Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said.
Hezbollah has not given a statement as of yet.
Israel and Hezbollah have avoided major conflicts at the Lebanese-Israeli border since their last war in 2006 in which Hezbollah inflicted a historic second defeat on the Israeli forces when Tel Aviv launched a campaign against southern Lebanon in an attempt to claim more territory. Fighting lasted 33 days and claimed the lives of more than 1,000 Lebanese civilians. About 1,000,000 people were displaced.
Hezbollah was formed in 1985 with the open backing of the newly-founded Islamic Republic of Iran as a militant political party and militia born out of repression against the Shiite Muslim minority in Lebanon as well as the Israeli occupation of the country's Shiite-majority south.
The group defines itself through its struggle against Israeli settler-colonialism in Palestine and Lebanon, particularly the 1982 Israeli occupation of South Lebanon which ended in the defeat of Israel and its withdrawal from the country in 2000.