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Israeli settlers claim they hear digging sounds under their homes

Israeli settlers of a kibbutz located near the northern border with Lebanon have complained to the Israeli authorities after claiming to hear sounds of digging under their homes, Israel's Walla! news website reported on Monday.

According to the website, residents of the kibbutz called a private contractor to inspect the sounds they were hearing from underneath their homes and the contractor found signs of an underground tunnel being dug from Lebanon towards the kibbutz.

Walla! said the risk of tunnels remains a possibility among the northern settlements after what they have seen in the southern settlements along the borders with Gaza.

The secretary of the kibbutz, Ofer Shamir, sent a sharply worded letter to the commander of the Israeli army in the northern region, Yair Golan, in which he expressed their fears of the possibility of a tunnel being dug from Lebanon into settlers' homes.

Shamir also sent a copy of the letter to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Defence Minister Moshe Yaalon and Chief of Staff Benny Gantz, telling them that the settlers have conducted intensive investigations in the region, even calling a private contractor, and that they could locate the other end of the tunnel coming from greenhouses in the Lebanese village of Marwahine adjacent to the border.

Shamir added that the settlers have been warning since 2009 about the existence of such tunnels, which have been observed by farmers in the settlements near the border. He noted that the contractor has also found a 50-meter-long tunnel underneath the home of one of the settlers, who had complained about hearing drilling sounds.

According to Walla!, the settlers testified nearly a month ago about hearing sounds of drilling under their homes and complained that they could see trucks carrying dirt and sand on the Lebanese side of the border before greenhouses were erected at the site.

A spokesperson of the Israeli army said that occupation forces regularly perform "routine security operations in the northern border, focusing on defence and intelligence with the understanding that the tunnels are among the variety of threats to the region. Every report about hearing noises of any suspected tunnel activity, also in this case, has been examined by the designated forces and rejected. However, following the request of the residents, there will be another investigation to clarify the issue to determine if there is extensive activity in the development of any new technologies."

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