Lebanon's Prime Minister: Israeli Tunnel Operation Is No Reason for Escalation

Saad Hariri gives first official Lebanese response to the Israeli army's operation to destroy Hezbollah tunnels on the northern border

Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri speaks during a press conference, in Beirut, Lebanon, November 13, 2018.
Hussein Malla,AP

Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri responded on Thursday morning to the Israeli army operation launched on Monday to destroy cross-border tunnels constructed by Hezbollah.

"The developments in the southern Lebanon border are no reason for escalation. This is what the Lebanese government wants and is acting towards," Hariri tweeted, in the first official Lebanese response to the development.

He added that the government is committed to UN Security Council Resolution 1701, which ended the 2006 Second Lebanon War, and to security cooperation and coordination between Lebanese forces and UN peace-keeping forces UNIFIL.

Hariri said that at the meeting Wednesday with representatives from Israel, Lebanon and UNIFIL, the Lebanese side repeated to the UNIFIL Commander that Israel's "consistent infiltration of Lebanese territory and airspace is an obvious violation of this decision (Resolution 1701) and its principles."

On Wednesday, Lebanon's Parliament Speaker Nabih Beri said that Israel provided no evidence of cross-border attack tunnels in the meeting with UN peacekeepers.

The Israeli military said on Tuesday that the operation would not be limited to Israeli territory. "We have to prepare for all scenarios in neutralizing the tunnels," Israel Defense Forces Spokesman Brig. Gen. Ronen Manelis, told reporters. "Some of [the scenarios] will not be in our territory and this is something we are preparing for."