Israel building underground defence system on Lebanon border

JERUSALEM (AP) — Israel’s military said it began construction of an underground defence system along its northern frontier with Lebanon to protect against cross-border tunnels yesterday.

The infrastructure project will identify underground acoustic and seismic activity indicating tunnel digging, accompanied other defensive measures, said military spokesman Lieutenant Colonel Jonathan Conricus. Israel destroyed a series of what it said were attack tunnels last year, dug under the border by the Lebanese militant group Hezbollah.

The group battled Israel to a stalemate in a month-long war in 2006.

Hezbollah is closely allied with Iran, Israel’s greatest regional foe, and has vowed to retaliate for America’s killing of a top Iranian general in a drone strike earlier this month.

Conricus said the construction would all be on the Israeli side of the border and that United Nations (UN) peacekeepers along the frontier had been notified. “What we are doing today is part of a larger plan,” he said.

“We understand that our activity may be seen and will be heard on the other side and we want to explain what we are we doing and why we are doing it. It is a matter of precaution.”

A farmer drives his tractor in an apple plantation along the Israel-Lebanon border. PHOTO: AP