The IDF announced on Sunday the imminent end of the operation to locate and destroy cross-border attack tunnels dug by Hezbollah into Israeli territory, after finding the sixth and final tunnel on Saturday.
Operation Northern Shield will be officially concluded after the sixth tunnel is destroyed, IDF spokesperson Brig. Gen. Ronen Manelis told reporters during a Sunday briefing.
“With today's development, the IDF has now exposed all cross-border tunnels dug by Hezbollah from Lebanon into Israel. The tunnels will be neutralized in the coming days,” the military said in a statement.
“This marks the completion of Operation ‘Northern Shield,’ which aims to expose and neutralize attack tunnels which infiltrate into Israeli territory.”
“According to our assessments, there are no longer any tunnels crossing into Israel,” the military’s international spokesman Lt. Col. Jonathan Conricus told reporters, adding that Hezbollah retained some underground facilities on the Lebanese side.
The IDF spokesperson said the sixth tunnel was the largest and most sophisticated tunnel crossing the border, calling it a “highly advanced tunnel.”
The tunnel had a rail system to move equipment and garbage, electricity, stairs, and other features that made it more sophisticated than previously discovered tunnels.
The final tunnel is also the longest of the exposed cross-border tunnels, extending 800 meters in Lebanon and 10 meters into Israel. The entrance is said to lie at a private home in Lebanon's Ramyah, making it the second tunnel to originate from the southern village.
“Operation Northern Shield deprived Hezbollah of the unique offensive abilities it had built for years as part of its planned attack on Israeli territory. Denying Hezbollah this ability harmed the terrorist organization's ability to carry out its plans while also improving the security situation in the northern arena and removing a threat from Israeli citizens,” the IDF said.
The IDF said it would continue conducting broad defense efforts on the Lebanese border, including the continued construction of the security barrier which began last year.