BEIRUT (Dispatches) -- Lebanon’s parliament speaker said Wednesday the occupying regime of Israel had presented no evidence to prove its claims that a network of attack tunnels has been built by Hezbollah across the countries’ shared borders during a tripartite meeting with UN peacekeepers.
Nabih Berri said the Zionist regimeoffered no "coordinates or information” about the tunnels during the regular weekly meeting, according to Lebanon’s National News Agency.
The United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) peacekeeping mission meanwhile said Wednesday it will send a team to Occupied Palestine to "ascertain facts,” a day after Israel said it had launched an open-ended operation to find and destroy what it claimed were tunnels planned for use by Hezbollah to attack the occupying regime and perhaps launch a full-scale war.
Berri questioned the authenticity of the Zionist regime’s claims.
"The Israeli tale about the existence of a tunnel in Kafr Kila is questionable,” Berri said. "Lebanon asks to be given the coordinates that specify the location of this tunnel and the validity of the Israeli claims about its existence.”
"In any case, if Israel wants to dig in the territories it occupies, it can do what it wants and dig as much as it wants. If it wants to expand by digging into Lebanese territory, that is another matter,” he added.
U.S. ambassador to Lebanon Elizabeth Holzhall Richard telephoned Berri to speak about the border situation but maintained Washington’s official stance in backing the Israeli operation, the Lebanese al-Joumhouria daily newspaper said.
A Hezbollah official warned the Zionist regime against invading Lebanon, saying the resistance movement is strong enough to block any military aggression and retaliate against it.
"The days when Israel could simply attack Lebanon are over, even though the initiative to attack is in Israel’s hands,” Hassan Hoballah, a member of Hezbollah’s political bureau, said.
Hoballah stressed that Hezbollah fighters are capable of blocking any Israeli assault and launching counter-attacks on the enemy. The resistance forces, he added, are on "a constant state of alert and surveillance, and are assessing the situation.”
The official also noted that Hezbollah’s course of action will depend on developments in the field.
President Michel Aoun called on Lebanon’s military and security agencies to "closely monitor” the situation in the country’s south.
Additionally, the Lebanese army command said that it is watching the situation closely, reiterating its readiness to confront any emergency situation. "The situation is under close follow-up,” read an army communiqué.
Meanwhile, analysts raised doubt about the declared objective of the Israeli operation, describing it as an attempt by Zionist PM Benjamin Netanyahu to divert attention from the corruption scandals he is grappling with.
The operation was launched shortly after Netanyahu’s meeting with U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in the Belgian capital, where the Zionist leader reportedly asked the hawkish American diplomat for help.