Naharnet

Netanyahu: Israel May Have to Operate in Lebanon

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Thursday that there is “reasonable possibility” Israel will have to “operate in Lebanon” to neutralize Hizbullah's alleged “attack tunnels.”

"We are denying our enemies the tunnels weapon in a systematic, determined manner and we will do whatever it takes," Netanyahu told 25 foreign ambassadors at a briefing near Lebanon’s border.

"This operation is just the beginning, but when it ends, the tunnel weapon Hizbullah invested in will no longer be effective," he added.

"Anyone who attacks us, his blood will be on his own head. Hizbullah and Hamas know this," Netanyahu added.

"I told the ambassadors they must unequivocally condemn the aggression and increase the sanctions against these elements (Hizbullah and Hamas)," he told reporters afterwards.

Netanyahu also said Israel plans to demand a response from the international community at a meeting of the U.N. Security Council called for by Israel.

On Wednesday, Netanyahu told U.N. Secretary General Antonio Guterres that "he expects the U.N. to strongly condemn the violation of Israel's sovereignty", according to his office's Twitter account.

A senior Israeli intelligence official meanwhile explained Netanyahu decided to tour the operation's area with the ambassadors "to create diplomatic legitimization for further action down the road -- if and when we need it."

"We're trying to de-legitimize Hizbullah," he explained. "They infiltrated our territory. We're convening the Security Council at the end of the week or early next week, and we'll start applying the same pressure we put on Hamas -- not just against the tunnels, but also to make it clear this is a terror organization that is here to kill civilians."

Source: Agence France Presse, Naharnet


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