On Christmas Day the Israeli jets used two civilian aircraft in flight as cover to engage targets in Syria, the Russian Defense Ministry said, noting that the IDF's F-16s flew in as civilian jets were landing at Beirut and Damascus airports.
On Sunday morning Benjamin Netanyahu said that the Israeli Air Force had targeted Iranian targets in Syria. 'The accumulation of recent attacks shows that we're more determined than ever to act against Iran in Syria, just as we promised.' Israel is believed to have carried out hundreds of airstrikes against Iranian and Hezbollah targets throughout the Syrian civil war but has generally refrained from commenting about them for fear of being drawn into the fighting.
It rarely publicly confirms such strikes, though outgoing military chief of staff Gadi Eisenkot has spoken of them in interviews in recent days. In a New York Times interview published Friday, Eisenkot said that Israel "has struck thousands of targets without claiming responsibility or asking for credit" as part of his showdown with Qassim Suleimani, the commander of Iran's elite Quds Force.
"We worked with impressive success to block Iran's military entrenchment in Syria", Netanyahu said at the start of the weekly cabinet meeting in Jerusalem.
He claimed the tunnel included stairs, a rail system, and a passageway to allow equipment and forces through.
Conricus said the latest tunnel originated from the Lebanese border town of Ramyeh, was 55 meters deep and ran 800 meters inside Lebanese territory and also "dozens" of meters into Israel.
"We have achieved the goal that we set out to achieve a month and a half ago", he said.
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UNIFIL, the United Nations peacekeeping force in Lebanon, was informed of the latest tunnel, Conricus said.
The powerful Shiite militant Hezbollah, which acts independently in Lebanon, has yet to comment on the Israeli discoveries.
Israel has pledged to prevent its enemy Iran from entrenching itself militarily in Syria, where it is backing President Bashar Assad's regime alongside Russian Federation and Hezbollah.
In the wake of its discoveries, Israel has asked the worldwide community to impose tough sanctions on Hezbollah and begin to act against its state-within-a-state operation in Lebanon.
Conricus said there were no more tunnels reaching Israel from Lebanon but the army was still monitoring "facilities" being dug by Hezbollah inside Lebanese territory.
A month-long war in 2006 between Israel and Hezbollah killed more than 1,200 Lebanese, mostly civilians, and more than 160 Israelis, mostly soldiers.