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Kuwait backs Lebanon, says Israel 'more dangerous' than Hizballah tunnels

Israel launched operation 'Northern Shield' to destroy tunnels dug by Hizballah. [AFP]

Date of publication: 20 December, 2018

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The Israeli army announced the launch of an operation dubbed 'Northern Shield' two weeks ago to destroy tunnels it said have been dug under the border by Hizballah.

Kuwait threw its backing behind Lebanon on Wednesday, saying Israeli violations of Beirut's sovereignty pose more of a threat than Hizballah's cross-border tunnels.

The Israeli army announced the launch of an operation dubbed "Northern Shield" two weeks ago to destroy tunnels it said have been dug under the border by Hizballah.

The UN said that an investigation it conducted showed two tunnels allegedly dug by Hizballah snaked under the Israeli side of the border with Lebanon, but it did not find any exit points.

"Realistically, this incident is not really a threat to peace in the region," Kuwaiti ambassador Mansour Ayyad Al-Otaibi told the UN Security Council.

"Lebanon has been living for years with Israeli violations. Israel has tried to exaggerate this incident militarily, and in the media."

Jean-Pierre Lacroix, the deputy head of UN peacekeeping operations, said the tunnels were a "serious violation of Resolution 1701", which ended a 2006 war between Israel and Hizballah that killed more than 1,200 Lebanese civilians.

Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu had earlier urged the Security Council to condemn Hizballah, which is backed by Iran, for digging cross-border "attack tunnels" and to demand Lebanon prevent such activity from its territory.

Kuwait's UN ambassador said he condemned "Israeli violations against Lebanese sovereignty, in land, air and sea", and said efforts by Hizballah to counter Israel are "legitimate" resistance and not terrorism.

Earlier this month, Bahrain's foreign minister gave his backing for Israel's military operation to destroy cross-border tunnels built by Lebanese group Hizballah in a rare public show of support for Israel from an Arab leader.

Amid the much-publicised tunnel operations, Netanyahu has been condemned by opposition politicians and commentators for seeking to distract from mounting personal legal woes and a fragile political coalition.

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