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US 'rejects Israeli request' for Lebanon sanctions over Hizballah tunnels Open in fullscreen

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US 'rejects Israeli request' for Lebanon sanctions over Hizballah tunnels

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Date of publication: 12 December, 2018

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The United States has reportedly rejected a request from Israel to impose sanctions on Lebanon over "attack tunnels" dug under the border by Shia militia Hizballah.

The United States has reportedly rejected a request from Israel to impose sanctions on Lebanon over "attack tunnels" allegedly built under the border by Shia militia Hizballah.

Israeli daily Haaretz reported the development on Wednesday, citing a senior Israeli official.

The report said that Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu requested the sanctions at a meeting with US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in Brussels last week.

"While the US refused to equate Hizballah with the Lebanese state, it agreed to draw up harsh sanctions that would put pressure on the group, which is struggling financially," it said.

Lebanese President Michel Aoun has said that the US has given reassurances to Beirut that Israel does not want to escalate the situation despite threats from Tel Aviv, The Daily Star reported

"We don't have hostile intentions either, and so there are no dangers to peace along the border," Aoun was quoted as saying.

The Israeli army announced an operation on December 4 dubbed "Northern Shield" to destroy tunnels it said were dug under the border by Hizballah.

Israel said on Tuesday it had uncovered another "attack tunnel" - the third since it started the search and destroy operation.

Israel fought a war against Iran-backed Hizballah in 2006 that was halted by a UN-brokered truce.

The conflict killed more than 1,200 Lebanese civilians, displaced over one million, and devastated infrastructure in the country.

Israel and Hizballah have since avoided major conflict, though Israel has launched multiple attacks in neighbouring Syria targeting the powerful group.

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