Israel Provided No Evidence of Hezbollah Tunnels, Says Lebanese Parliament Speaker

Nabih Beri demands coordinates of cross-border tunnels, warns Israeli forces against entering Lebanon

Reuters
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Lebanese soldiers stand near the border with Israel, at the village of Kfar Kila, in south Lebanon, December 5, 2018.
Lebanese soldiers stand near the border with Israel, at the village of Kfar Kila, in south Lebanon, December 5, 2018. Credit: Aziz Taher/Reuters
Reuters

Israel provided no evidence of in a meeting with U.N. peacekeepers on Wednesday, Lebanon's Parliament Speaker Nabih Beri said.

"The Israelis did not present any information" at the meeting with the army and the peacekeeping force, a statement from Beri's office said, adding that geographic coordinates had been demanded but not received.

"This [Israeli accusation] is not based on any real facts at all," Ali Bazzi, a lawmaker from Beri's parliamentary bloc cited the speaker as saying after a meeting. 

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FILE PHOTO: Lebanese Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri, Beirut, December 8, 2017.
FILE PHOTO: Lebanese Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri, Beirut, December 8, 2017.Credit: Mohamed Azakir/Reuters

The Israeli military  dubbed Operation Northern Shield on Tuesday on its side of the border to "expose and thwart" tunnels crossing Israel that it said originated in Lebanon.

Israel accused Lebanon's  of digging across the common border, saying the tunnels were not yet functional but posed "an imminent threat." There was no comment from the -backed organization. 

The 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."

According to Beri, Israel is free to operate on its soil, but Lebanon's approach would be "different" should forces enter Lebanon.

Mechanical diggers, drills and other heavy machinery were seen from south Lebanon throughout Tuesday, working on the Israeli side of the heavily-guarded border. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu the operation would continue for as long as necessary.

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