The Israeli Army on Sunday urged residents of two Lebanese border towns to evacuate their homes, telling them that the Hezbollah terrorist group had put them in danger by digging attack tunnels, from southern Lebanon into northern Israel, which the IDF is now working to destroy.
Col. Jonathan Conricus told reporters in a conference call that soldiers discovered a "fresh tunnel" that showed signs of recent digging by Hezbollah operatives.
He said explosives were placed in the tunnel to prevent infiltration into Israel, adding that Israel holds the Lebanese government responsible "for the activities and all Hezbollah violations".
Conricus said the army believed the three individuals meant to take sensors the Israeli soldiers had placed in the ground as part of their efforts to uncover tunnels.
He did not comment as to how the military had arrived at the conclusion that the sensors were at risk, but said Israeli soldiers fired at the suspects, and chased them away. "Work in the area continues as usual", it said.
On Thursday, UNIFIL, the UN body which monitors the border region, confirmed the existence of a tunnel in northern Israel originating on the Lebanese side of the border.
Putin "stressed the need to ensure stability along the line separating Israel and Lebanon", the Russian embassy in Israel said.
Still, a friendly fire incident in Syria in September that led to the downing of a Russian plane by Syrian air defences during an Israeli strike has complicated Israeli operations.
According to an English translation by Iran's Tasnim News Agency, Qassem said that all of Israel, including its capital Tel Aviv, was within the range of Hezbollah missiles.
Deputy Secretary-General Sheikh Naim Qassem told Iranian Arabic-language newspaper al-Vefagh that the Iran-backed Shiite militant group's missiles served as a deterrent against Israel going to war in Lebanon, where Hezbollah is based.
The tunnels's discovery and the subsequent IDF operation to destroy them has raised the specter of renewed conflict between Israel and Hezbollah.
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