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IDF announced the discovery of a third Hezbollah tunnel just hours after dozens of close-up pictures and videos of IDF troops were released by Hezbollah.

Israel’s military announced that a third Hezbollah tunnel was unearthed on Tuesday, just hours after dozens of close-up pictures and videos of IDF troops taking part in Operation Northern Shield were released by Hezbollah including a map indicating where Israel’s military is currently operating.

“Hezbollah’s war media department launched an intensified campaign to show the weakness and fragility of the Israeli army, shooting the enemy soldiers from rear positions, which shows that the Resistance soldiers can infiltrate into their positions and capture them,” read a report by the Lebanese al-Manar website.

“The Israeli soldiers deployed on the border with Lebanon have become a joke as the Lebanese public enjoyed making fun of them,” it continued adding that the “Hezbollah phantom is always haunting the Israelis, imposing on them certain formulas which they would never have followed.

Several of the pictures showed IDF troops operating alongside UNIFIL Peacekeepers, while other close-up pictures showed troops smoking or resting. The map released by Hezbollah shows five locations where they claim that Israel’s military is currently excavating to locate tunnels across from the southern Lebanese villages of Kfar Kila, Mis Al-Jabel, Blida, Ramya, and Alma Ash-Sha’b.

A timeline of the IDF’s battle against Hezbollah attack tunnels, December 4, 2018 (IDF Spokesperson)

The IDF launched Operation Northern Shield last week in order to detect and neutralize cross-border attack tunnels dug by the Iranian-backed Shiite organization. The military on Tuesday announced the discovery of a third tunnel which crossed into Israel, one outside the community of Metulla and the two others whose location cannot be disclosed.

The route, like the rest of the tunnels, is under IDF control and anyone who enters it on the Lebanese side endangers their life,” read a statement released by the IDF Spokesperson’s Unit, adding that “the Lebanese government is responsible for the digging of the tunnels from Lebanese territory. This is a serious violation of Resolution 1701 and the sovereignty of the State of Israel.”

The IDF stressed that the tunnel does not pose an imminent threat to nearby residents.

Meanwhile, UNIFIL released a statement confirming the existence of two tunnels in the “general area” of Metulla and calling Hezbollah’s project “a serious matter.”

“This is a work in progress, and UNIFIL will make every effort to maintain clear and credible channels of communication with both sides so that there is no room for misunderstanding on this sensitive matter,” read the statement, adding that “the calm and stability along the Blue Line must be preserved.”

Dozens of Hezbollah tunnels are believed to have been dug along the 130 kilometer border between the two countries. The military added that Operation Northern Shield would take several months to complete.

On Tuesday, a delegation of senior IDF officers and led by the head of the IDF’s Operations Directorate Maj.-Gen. Aharon Haliva, departed to Moscow to brief their Russian counterparts on Operation Northern Shield as well as on other operational issues.

On Monday night, the IDF released audio recordings of what it claims are sounds of Hezbollah militants tunneling. These sounds allowed the IDF to locate three of the tunnels, two of which had crossed into northern Israel.

The recordings of seismic activity, the IDF said, are what led the joint task force of the Intelligence Directorate and the Northern Command known as “The Laboratory” to find the tunnels. The technology used by the unit included both existing sensors and new equipment, which is able to manipulate the data received by the sensors to locate the tunnels. Once a tunnel is located, the military works with both the elite Yahalom special engineering unit and civilian contractors to fully expose and neutralize it.

“The development of the capabilities and operating techniques of the Laboratory in the Northern Command were carried out in light of our attempts to use the Laboratory in the Gaza Division,” said Col. Yaniv Avitan, of the IDF’s Technology and Logistics Directorate, adding that “we have at our disposal in the technology department of the IDF Ground Forces the best technological minds and tools that are needed to fulfill this mission,” he added.

Led by Cpt. G – whose full name cannot be released for security purposes – and made up of soldiers from technology and intelligence units, The Laboratory is based on a similar unit stationed along Israel’s border with the Hamas-run Gaza Strip.

“We brought with us the knowledge that we accumulated there and brought it north,” said Cpt. G who previously served as the deputy head of the Southern Command’s tunnel unit. “We learned that when we bring together the field engineers, researchers, and technology people from a variety of disciplines, the results aren’t slow to come.”

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