by Yona Schnitzer
Operation Northern Shield entered its second day on Wednesday, as IDF Engineering Corps forces continued their work to expose and destroy tunnels dug into Israeli territory from Lebanon by Hezbollah.
According to a senior IDF officer, the operation, which is expected to last several weeks, has caught Hezbollah off guard and has very much embarrassed the Shi’ite militia.
“We caught Hezbollah unprepared for this event,” said the officer, “[Hezbollah Secretary-General Hassan] Nasrallah is very embarrassed. Yesterday morning, workers were still arriving to work on the tunnels, but as soon as the operation was publicized, they fled from all the digging sites,” he added.
The IDF Northern Command has intelligence regarding roughly a dozen tunnels along the border with Lebanon, which they assume to be all of them, the officer explained.
“I assess that we have a clear picture of all of the tunnels, but you can never be sure,” he said. “We heard the digging work using seismic machinery, and when combining that with aerial intelligence, we were able to create a full picture. The fact that we were able to reach these achievements without the other side knowing is a huge accomplishment, as yesterday, they were still digging.”
While the operation has gotten off to a smooth start, the officer warned that the situation remains fragile, as any attempt to demolish tunnels in Lebanese territory, beyond Israel’s border will most likely lead to an escalation.
Meanwhile, Hezbollah has published photos and videos of the Israeli work being carried out on the border, as seen from the Lebanese side of the border, signaling to the Israeli forces that it has them within its sights.