The Israel Defense Forces located a fourth attack tunnel dug by the Hezbollah terror group from Lebanon into Israeli territory, the army said Sunday.
The tunnel is the latest in a series uncovered by the Israeli army during a military operation dubbed "Northern Shield." The army launched the operation on December 4, after years of intensive and careful planning.
The army said in a statement Sunday that the tunnel, which was located over the weekend, "is under IDF control and does not pose an imminent threat." The statement said that the relevant local authority leaders were updated on the discovery.
The IDF warned against entering the tunnel from the Lebanese side now that it is under Israeli control, saying that explosives have been laid inside.
"The Lebanese Government is held accountable for the attack tunnels dug from Lebanese territory," the IDF statement said. "This is another blatant breach of UN Resolution 1701 and of Israeli sovereignty," it added, referring to the UN resolution that ended the 2006 Second Lebanon War fought between Israel and Hezbollah.
Hezbollah, Lebanon's most powerful armed group, dug the tunnels under the border with the aim of launching attacks into Israeli territory with backing from its regional sponsor Iran.
Prime Minister Netanyahu issued a warning to Hezbollah during a visit to the Israel-Lebanon border earlier this month. "If they make the mistake of choosing to harm us, they will sustain an unimaginable blow," he said.
"Hezbollah thought it was digging... but we knew and planned carefully. It didn't leak, we kept the secret," the prime minister added. "We're implementing exactly what we planned, but we're also prepared for unplanned things, and there's great firepower here."
Netanyahu said that if the IDF hadn't uncovered the tunnels, Hezbollah would have been able to carry out a murderous attack on civilians in northern Israel. "Hezbollah could have gone into a killing spree and abductions inside your communities," he told local leaders. "Including cutting off roads and everything else."
Speaking on the same day, Lebanese President Michel Aoun said he saw no risk to peace from Operation Northern Shield.
"We certainly took this issue seriously—the presence of tunnels at the border—and Israel informed us via the United States that it does not have aggressive intentions and it will continue to work on its (territory)," Aoun said.
"We also do not have aggressive intentions, and so there is no danger to peace in this (Israeli) operation...We are ready to remove the causes of the dispute, but after we obtain a final report and we set out the matters that need to be dealt with," he told a news conference alongside his visiting Austrian counterpart.
The head of the UN peacekeeping force in Lebanon (IUNIFIL), Maj. Gen. Stefano Del Col, after meetings with Aoun and Lebanese Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri that the matter was "serious."
UNIFIL was making "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."
Israel maintains it is up to UNIFIL to deal with the tunnels on the Lebanese side of the border.