The find makes this at least the second cross-border tunnel discovered since the launch of Operation Northern Shield last week to expose and neutralize terror tunnels Hezbollah has constructed along the Israel-Lebanon border since 2006.
IDF spokesperson Lt. Col. Jonathan Conricus told reporters the new tunnel runs into Israel but “does not pose an imminent threat to Israeli communities.”
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.”
Earlier on Saturday, IDF troops operating in the Rakefet enclave near the border, fired at three Hezbollah suspects who approached them in accordance with the rules of engagement.
Conricus said Israeli troops crossed the fence into Lebanon but did not exceed the UN-established border demarcation, known as the “Blue Line."
He added Israeli forces also installed technological sensors to control a tunnel, noting the Hezbollah operatives made use of the bad weather in an attempt “to probably take the sensors” but fled after Israeli forces opened fire at them.
Lebanon’s state-run National News Agency, however, said the IDF soldiers shot into the air when they saw a Lebanese army patrol near the border demarcation.
“Israeli enemy soldiers shot into the air following their deployment near the Blue Line in Kroum al-Sharaqi region to the east of Meis al-Jabal village,” NNA said.
The Israelis “were surprised, due to thick fog, by a routine Lebanese army patrol inside the Lebanese territories,” it added.
There were no reports of casualties.
Meanwhile, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called Russian President Vladimir Putin to discuss Israel’s intention to foil the tunnels’ threat.
Netanyahu vowed to continue efforts “to prevent the establishment of an Iranian presence in Syria and to act against Iranian and Hezbollah aggression,” a PMO statement said.
It also said that Netanyahu and Putin agreed that mutual security teams will meet to discuss possible threats and Operation Northern Shield.
On Thursday, the United Nations peacekeeping Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) confirmed the existence of a tunnel near the Blue Line, describing it as a “serious occurrence”.
Asked what Israel expected UNIFIL to do, Conricus said: “To go to the locations that we have singled out and pinpointed, to locate the tunnels and then to make sure that those access points are blocked from the Lebanese side.”
The situation has so far remained calm on both sides of the border. But the operation has brought renewed attention to a frontier across which Israel and the Hezbollah fought the Second Lebanon Waa in 2006.
Reuters contributed to this report.