Israeli Military Delegation to Head to Moscow for Talks With Russian Counterparts

Army says discussion topics will include operations to destroy Hezbollah-built tunnels crossing Lebanon border

FILE Photo: Russian President Vladimir Putin shakes hands with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu during their meeting in Moscow on March 9, 2017.
PAVEL GOLOVKIN / אי־אף־פ�

An Israeli delegation of senior military officers will leave for Moscow on Tuesday to meet their Russian counterparts and discuss operations to destroy Hezbollah-built cross-border tunnels, the Israeli military said Monday.

The delegation's trip will last about a day and will be headed by Maj. Gen. Aharon Haliva, the head of the military's technological and logistics directorate.

The trip is set to be the first meeting between Israeli and Russian officials since September 20, when an Israeli delegation traveled to Moscow in an attempt to ease tensions caused by an incident in which Syrian anti-aircraft missiles downed a Russian plane while trying to thwart an Israeli airstrike.

That delegation failed to convince Russia of Israel's version of events surrounding the plane incident, leading to a diplomatic crisis.

>> Since spy-plane downing, Russia toughens stance against Israel in Syria skies

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu spoke by telephone with Russian President Vladimir Putin on Saturday, updating him on Israel's continuing efforts to foil the tunnel threat. 

The two agreed that security delegations from the two countries will meet soon and that a meeting between the leaders would be coordinated.

Netanyahu reiterated Israel's policy to prevent the establishment of an Iranian presence in Syria and to act against Iranian and Hezbollah aggression.