Lebanon: U.S. Informed Us Israel Has No Aggressive Intention

Michel Aoun says Lebanon takes issue of Hezbollah tunnels seriously

U.N. peacekeepers (UNIFIL) and Israeli soldiers in south Lebanon, December 9, 2018
\ KARAMALLAH DAHER/ REUTERS

Lebanon's president says Israel's operation to destroy Hezbollah attack tunnels across the border won't endanger the calm along the frontier.

Michel Aoun, a Hezbollah ally, said Tuesday that Lebanon takes the tunnels issue "seriously" and is prepared to "take measures to remove causes of disagreement" after a full report on the situation.

Aoun said the U.S. has informed Lebanon that Israel has "no aggressive intentions," adding that his country too has "no aggressive intentions."

Aoun spoke alongside Austrian President Alexander Van der Bellen, who plans to visit Austrian peacekeepers in the south.

>> Israel seeks to leverage op against Hezbollah tunnels to complete Lebanon border wall ■ Israeli operation against Hezbollah tunnels enters its explosive stage

Israel announced the launch of Operation Northern Shield a week ago, aimed at destroying cross-border tunnels constructed by Hezbollah.

Also on Tuesday, an Israeli delegation of senior military officers is scheduled to leave for Moscow to meet their Russian counterparts and discuss operations to destroy Hezbollah-built cross-border tunnels.

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.

Haaretz's Amos Harel wrote on Monday that the Israeli operation has entered its explosive stage. According to Harel, there is no wall or fence separating the Israeli and Lebanese forces where the demolition is going on, and all it would take is one antsy Lebanese soldier to spark a fire that would be hard to extinguish.