Bahrain backs Israel in operation against Hezbollah tunnels

Bahrain’s Foreign Minister, Khalid bin Ahmed Al Khalifa, last night supported Israel’s operation to destroy Hezbollah tunnels on the Israel-Lebanese border.

Al Khalifa tweeted: “Is terrorist Hezbollah’s digging of the tunnels under Lebanon’s border not a flagrant threat to Lebanon’s stability, which it shares responsibility for? Who bears responsibility when neighbouring countries take upon themselves to eliminate the threat they face.” He added: “International powers see it as a dangerous threat and the Lebanese state doesn’t comment.”

The head of the Israel Defence Force (IDF) Northern Command, Maj. Gen. Yoel Strik, met with the head of UNIFIL, General Stefano Del Col and together they visited the site of the first Hezbollah tunnel. Strik presented evidence that a second tunnel was under construction starting from the Lebanese Shi’ite village of Ramyeh and extending into Israeli territory. The IDF requested that UNIFIL immediately take action to destroy the tunnel on the Lebanese side. UNIFIL confirmed the existence of the first tunnel next to Metulla and said that it was a grave development. UNIFIL said it is in contact with both sides and would pass on its findings to the Lebanese authorities.

Earlier on Thursday morning, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu took a group of ambassadors on a tour to see the Hezbollah tunnel. Netanyahu called on the world to denounce and sanction Hezbollah. He said: “We think that Hezbollah should be condemned forcefully and universally on this act of aggression.” He added: “This is an organization that openly says that their goal is to annihilate the State of Israel. They don’t hide it any more than the Iranians do, because of course they’re part and parcel of the same effort and the same ideology.”

Netanyahu added: “If you look at the Hamas tunnels, they’re very narrow, basically for one person. The Hezbollah tunnels are broad… in order to bring in many forces, simultaneously, which means several battalions into our territory, with the purpose of cutting off communities here, towns, kibbutzim, and then going into a campaign of murder and kidnapping, which could happen simultaneously.”

The UK Ambassador to Israel, David Quarrey, tweeted after the tour that the “UK condemns such tunnels as blatant and destabilising violation of UN resolutions.”

Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri said Israel consistently violates Resolution 1701 by infiltrating Lebanese territory and airspace, but stressed that recent developments are “no reason for escalation.”