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Saturday, 15 December 2018

Israel gave no proof of border tunnels, says Lebanon's Berri

Reuters , Wednesday 5 Dec 2018
 Nabih Berri
File photo: Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri gestures at the presidential palace in Baabda, near Beirut, Lebanon November 3, 2016. REUTERS
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Israel provided no evidence of cross-border attack tunnels in a meeting with U.N. peacekeepers on Wednesday, Lebanon's Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri said.

The Israeli military launched an operation on Tuesday to "expose and thwart" tunnels into its territory which it said came from Lebanon.

Israel accused Lebanon's Hezbollah movement of digging across the frontier. It said the tunnels did not function yet but posed "an imminent threat".

There was no comment from Iran-backed Hezbollah.

"The Israelis did not present any information," at the meeting with the Lebanese army and the UNIFIL peacekeeping force, a statement from Berri's office said.

Berri, a political ally of Hezbollah, said Lebanon had asked for geographic coordinates but received none.

"This (Israeli accusation) is not based on any real facts at all," Ali Bazzi, a lawmaker from Berri's parliamentary bloc cited the speaker as saying after a meeting.

Lebanon's foreign ministry will submit a complaint to the United Nations about "repeated Israeli violations," state news agency NNA said.

Mechanical diggers, drills and other heavy machinery were seen from south Lebanon throughout Tuesday, working on the Israeli side of the heavily-guarded border.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said late on Tuesday the operation would continue for as long as necessary.

The Lebanese army said it was "fully prepared to face any emergency" and its side of the border remained calm on Tuesday.

Israel and Hezbollah have avoided major conflict across the border since their last war in 2006, though Israel has mounted attacks in Syria targeting the heavily armed Shi'ite Hezbollah.

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