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    In this Thursday, Dec. 13, 2018 photo, Israeli military equipment works on the Lebanese-Israeli border in front of the Israeli town of Metula, background, near the southern village of Kafr Kila, Lebanon. As Israeli excavators dig into the rocky ground, Lebanese across the frontier gather to watch what Israel calls the Northern Shield operation aimed at destroying attack tunnels built by Hezbollah. But Lebanese soldiers in new camouflaged posts, behind sandbags, or inside abandoned homes underscore the real anxiety that any misstep could lead to a conflagration between the two enemy states that no one seems to want.

    IDF Starts Demolition of Hezbollah 'Attack' Tunnels Along Lebanese Border

    © AP Photo/ Hussein Malla
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    TEL AVIV (Sputnik) - The Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) said on Thursday that they had started destroying attack tunnels discovered close to the Israeli-Lebanese border.

    "The neutralization and destruction phase of Hezbollah’s attack tunnels dug from Lebanon into Israel has begun. Our effort to expose additional tunnels continues according to plan," the IDF said on Twitter.

    Following the launch of the Israeli operation, the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) said it had increased security patrols at the Lebanese-Israeli border to avoid potential escalation.

    The IDF announced on December 4 that it had launched Operation Northern Shield aimed at neutralizing cross-border tunnels dug by the Lebanese Hezbollah movement, and allegedly used for covertly transporting Hezbollah militants to Israel.

    Meanwhile, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Mikhail Bogdanov and Lebanese Ambassador to Moscow Chawki Bou Nassar on Thursday discussed the situation along the Lebanese-Israeli border, the Russian Foreign Ministry said on Thursday.

    WATCH: IDF Shows Inside of Hezbollah Tunnels It Wants US to Make Beirut Destroy

    "During the meeting, the situation in Lebanon and around it was discussed with a focus on the situation in the area of the UN 'blue line' separating Lebanon and Israel. The Russian side reaffirmed its principle position in support of the sovereignty, unity and territorial integrity of Lebanon," the ministry said in a statement.

    Israel traditionally views Hezbollah’s presence in Lebanon and Syria as a threat to its national security as the movement is backed by Iran, which is Israel's main rival in the region. The Blue Line is a border demarcation between Lebanon and Israel determined by the United Nations.

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    UN Confirms Presence of 4 Hezbollah Tunnels to Cross Israeli Border - Spokesman
    Israeli Troops Discover Fourth Hezbollah Tunnel as Military Op Under Way
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    destruction, tunnels, Hezbollah, Israel Defence Forces (IDF), lebanon, Israel
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