IDF identifies Hezbollah outpost on border disguised as environmental NGO
Israel Defense Forces (IDF) has identified a Hezbollah terror outpost located at its northern border disguised as an environmental NGO, an army senior official said on Monday.
The position is situated in the southern Lebanese village of El Adeise next to the Israeli village of Misgav Am, the official from the IDF’s Northern Command said.
Whilst the outpost is seemingly owned by Lebanese environmental civil organization known as "Green Without Borders", the IDF official explained that it is being used surreptitiously by Hezbollah members as a way of spying and monitoring activity on the Israeli side of the border. It has no link to environmental matters.
"This is not a voluntary governmental organization, not a green organization that preserves forests, but a Hezbollah organization that provides cover stories for the establishment of observation posts and activity on the border,” the commander said.
Hezbollah operatives disguise their real identities by wearing civilian clothes.
The Israeli commander declared the activity a violation UN resolution 1701, adopted at the end of the Lebanon War in 2006, which he explained forbids any military activity south of the Litani river in Lebanon, except for the Lebanese Armed Forces.
In 2017, Israel reportedly identified 5 such positions used for Hezbollah's intelligence and reconnaissance efforts, while an additional position was just revealed according to the IDF press release on Monday.
"The Hezbollah terror organization regularly violates this resolution, as it patrols along the Blue Line carrying arms, observing Israeli territory and establishing military infrastructure near the border, all under the cover of a fictitious environmental conservation association," the press release stated, adding that Hezbollah "establishes its military capabilities Shiite villages in southern Lebanon."
The Israeli commander urged the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) to fulfill its mandate by taking urgent action to survey and dismantle the post.
However, the press release explained that Hezbollah is preventing the UN peacekeepers from doing their inspection task because it fraudulently claims that the property is privately owned.
First set up in 1978, UNIFIL was beefed up after the 2006 Lebanon War, tasked with guaranteeing a ceasefire and Israeli withdrawal from a demilitarized zone on the border.
In August of this year, the mandate for the peacekeeping force was renewed between Lebanon in case of another war between Lebanon and Israel. At the time, the US demanded better enforcement of the UN arms embargo against Hezbollah.
UNIFIL now has 10,500 troops on the ground monitoring the ceasefire and helping the Lebanese government secure its borders.
The IDF commander reiterated Israel’s commitment to the cessation of hostility in the region but explained that a terror outpost is something that cannot be tolerated.
The border between Israel and Lebanon has remained relatively quiet since the 2006 war -- when Israel retaliated for a cross-border raid in which Hezbollah captured two Israeli soldiers and killed three -- which both sides attribute to deterrence.
During the conflict Hezbollah fired thousands of rockets into northern Israel, which carried out devastating strikes across Lebanon.
Israel estimates that Hezbollah now has between 100,000 and 150,000 rockets in its arsenal.
According to an IDF officer cited by Jerusalem Post, a new war with Hezbollah would mean fighting the paramilitary group on four different levels at the same time; underground, on land, in the air and online.
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