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Netanyahu confirms air strikes on Iranian targets in Syria

14 January 2019

The attacks against Iranian targets and not only on Hezbollah arms convoys, were authorised by cabinet in 2017, he explained in his interview to the United States newspaper.

Israel has traditionally refrained from publicizing military operations against Iranian-linked targets on its northern front, but 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.

"All of the tunnels have been exposed and have either already been destroyed or are going to be destroyed", military spokesman Lieutenant-Colonel Jonathan Conricus told reporters. While they have at times traded blows within Syria and the occupied Golan Heights, the Israel-Lebanon border has mostly been quiet.

Lt Gen Conricus said the latest tunnel originated from the Lebanese border town of Ramyeh.

Ties between Israel and Lebanon further deteriorated after the IDF launched Operation Northern Shield in early December 2018, destroying suspected Hezbollah tunnels used to funnel militants and arms across the Israel-Lebanon border.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Sunday that Israel had at the weekend carried out an airstrike on Iranian weapons in Syria, a rare public confirmation of such attacks. "We'll remain fully in the north despite the operation's completion in order to work in the region".

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Conricus said there were no more tunnels reaching Israel from Lebanon but the army was still monitoring "facilities" being dug by Hezbollah within Lebanese territory.

The IDF also said that the "operation stripped from Hezbollah the unique offensive ability that it had built for years as part of an attack plan into Israeli territory that it wanted to conduct to create emergency situations".

It has said, however, that they were not yet operational.

A month-long war in 2006 between Israel and Hezbollah killed more than 1,200 Lebanese, mostly civilians, and more than 160 Israelis, mostly soldiers.

Israel says all anti-tunnel operations have taken place within its territory, and the highly publicised mission has gone ahead without drawing a military response from Hezbollah.

Lebanese officials however held talks on Sunday with US Under Secretary of State David Hale that included discussion of the border area, statements from both sides said.

Netanyahu confirms air strikes on Iranian targets in Syria