Published: Mon, January 14, 2019

Israel claims Syria air strike, says hunt for Hezbollah tunnels over

Israel claims Syria air strike, says hunt for Hezbollah tunnels over

"In the last 36 hours, the air force attacked Iranian warehouses with Iranian weapons at the worldwide airport in Damascus", the Israeli prime minister said at the start of the weekly cabinet meeting.

Long wary of publicity around its operations against Iran-linked targets on its northern front, Israel has been lifting the veil in recent days - a sign of confidence in a campaign waged amid occasional tension with Syria's big-power backer, Russia.

Only recently has it begun to speak publicly about thwarting the weapons smuggling from Iran through Styria into Lebanon.

Eisenkot told the New York Times on Friday that "we struck thousands of targets without claiming responsibility or asking for credit".

"We have been taking action with impressive success to arrest Iran's military entrenchment in Syria", Netanyahu said at the start of a cabinet meeting on Sunday, according to his office.

Netanyahu also cited an Israeli search-and-dismantle mission against suspected Hezbollah attack tunnels along the border with Lebanon that was launched in December and deemed completed on Sunday.

It reached a few dozen metres into Israel, and at 55 metres under the ground was the deepest as well as "the longest and most detailed" of all the tunnels the army exposed, Conricus said.

"We have achieved the goal that we set out to achieve", he said.

It is believed the tunnels were allowing militants to sneak across the border and carry out attacks.

UNIFIL, the United Nations peacekeeping force in Lebanon, was informed of the latest tunnel, Conricus said.

With the sixth Hezbollah tunnel discovered Saturday afternoon, Israel declared victory and announced the completion of Operation Northern Shield on Sunday.

In the wake of the tunnel discoveries, Israel has asked the worldwide community to impose tough sanctions on Hezbollah and launch action against its state-within-a-state operation in Lebanon.

The military said its forces will remain in the border area to monitor any further underground activity.

Neither Lebanon nor Hezbollah has commented directly on the end of the operation.

Israel has mounted attacks in Syria as part of its efforts to counter the influence created by Iran, which is supporting President Bashar al-Assad in the war that erupted in 2011. It said the Iranian-backed organization Hezbollah dug.

Israel has until now generally refrained from commenting about the strikes for fear of triggering a reaction and being drawn into the deadly fighting in neighbouring Syria's civil war.

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