Tunnels were the secret key to Hezbollah's plan to raid the Galilee

Israel said it had bolstered its forces on the nothern border

The announcement of the operation comes after Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu met US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in Brussels on Monday night. Today, it's all southern Lebanon, it's all Hezbollah, it's all pictures of Netanyahu with his senior security staff, with the generals and so-forth.

Israel's vulnerability to tunnels was laid bare during its war with Palestinian militant group Hamas in Gaza in 2014 when Palestinian militants used dozens of secret passages dug from Gaza into Israel to launch surprise attacks.

A Lebanese military official told The Associated Press that Lebanese troops and military intelligence agents, along with United Nations peacekeepers deployed in southern Lebanon, were observing the border on Tuesday.

There was no immediate comment from Hezbollah.

Education Minister Naftali Bennett also briefly threatened to resign and pull his party out of the coalition, toppling the government, if he were not given the defense portfolio, saying he would work to restore Israel's military strength.

"UNIFIL is liaising with all relevant interlocutors to ensure that the parties use the UNIFIL liaison and coordination mechanisms to maintain the continued calm and stability", she said.

The IDF released a photograph and map of what it said was a tunnel it had uncovered leading from Kafr Kila into Israel. It's operating at several points inside Israeli territory along its northern border with Lebanon, with several areas declared a closed military zone.

According to Conricus, the tunnels were part of a Hezbollah plan from 2012 to "shift the battlefield to Israel" and "conquer the Galilee" in a future conflict by infiltrating its territory.

"I said this many times".

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"We have launched Operation Northern Shield to expose and thwart cross-border attack tunnels dug by Hezbollah terror organisation from Lebanon into Israel", Conricus told journalists.

The military said in a statement it had "enhanced its presence and readiness in the Northern Command and is prepared for various scenarios".

Former Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman resigned in protest of Netanyahu's ceasefire in Gaza on November 14, which made Netanyahu officially the defense minister.

Earlier this week the Israel Police recommended indicting Netanyahu on corruption charges, including bribery and breach of trust.

Prominent regional analyst Abdel Bari Atwan, the editor-in-chief of Rai al-Youm, wrote Tuesday that the Israeli premier is struggling to save his own political life and avoid ending behind bars for graft by announcing such an operation.

Over the course of that war, Israel has targeted alleged Syrian and Hezbollah arms convoys on multiple occasions in an attempt to block any Iranian efforts to transfer weapons to the group.

There has been increased attention in Israel in recent days over Israeli officials' concerns regarding Iranian activity in Lebanon.

Elsewhere in Lebanon, Hezbollah and Iran continue to play with fire as they seek to build guided missile factories in underground facilities that Israel has warned it will not tolerate.

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