Israel urges UN action over Hezbollah 'attack tunnels'

Jerusalem (AFP) –


Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu urged the United Nations Security Council Wednesday to condemn Hezbollah for digging cross-border "attack tunnels" and to demand Lebanon prevent such activity from its territory.

Netanyahu's remarks came ahead of a Security Council meeting to discuss what Israel says is a network of tunnels dug by the Iranian-backed Shiite militant group, four of which have been uncovered.

"I call on all the members of the Security Council to condemn Hezbollah's wanton acts of aggression, to designate Hezbollah in its entirety as a terrorist organisation, to press for heightened sanctions against Hezbollah," Netanyahu told foreign media in the Israeli parliament.

Israel also wanted the Security Council "to demand that Lebanon stop allowing its territory to be allowed to be used as an act of aggression and its citizens to be used as pawns, to support Israel's right to defend itself against Iranian inspired and Iranian conducted aggression," he said.

On December 4, the army announced an operation dubbed "Northern Shield" to destroy tunnels it said have been dug under the border by Hezbollah.

Israel fought a devastating war against Hezbollah in 2006 that was halted by a UN-brokered truce.

Hezbollah is the only group in Lebanon not to have disarmed after the country's 1975-1990 civil war.

Netanyahu called the tunnels "an act of war" and accused the Lebanese government of not preventing their creation.

"The Lebanese government, which should be the first to challenge this and protest this, is doing nothing at best, and colluding at worst," he said.

Netanyahu noted that UNIFIL, the UN peacekeeping force in south Lebanon, has confirmed the existence of the four tunnels, stressing that it must be given swift and "unlimited access" to observe and document them.