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Israel defence study centre exposes Hezbollah tunnel network

An Israeli military observation point on the border wall separating Israel (L) from Lebanon (R), near the Rosh Hanikra Crossing, also known as the Ras Al Naqoura Crossing on 12 October 2020. [JALAA MAREY/AFP via Getty Images]
An Israeli military observation point on the border wall separating Israel (L) from Lebanon (R), near the Rosh Hanikra Crossing, also known as the Ras Al Naqoura Crossing on 12 October 2020. [JALAA MAREY/AFP via Getty Images]

An Israeli defence study centre has revealed in a report released on Thursday a large tunnel network stretching across Lebanon belonging to Hezbollah, wide enough for personnel and weapons to easily pass through.

The report, entitled Land of Tunnels, was released by ALMA Research and Education Centre, which researches security challenges facing Israel on its northern front.

Retired Israeli Major Tal Beeri conducted the study and found that Hezbollah began its tunnel project after the Second Lebanon War in 2006 with the help of the North Koreans and Iranians and: "Is much larger than the Hamas 'metro' project in the Gaza Strip."

The network supposedly connects the Beirut area, Hezbollah's central headquarters and the Beqaa area used by the group as its logistical operational rear base, to Southern Lebanon.

According to the report, the tunnel network allows for: "Hundreds of combatants, fully equipped, to pass stealthily and rapidly underground."

READ: Israel military says it downed Hezbollah drone 

It also found that the tunnels are large enough for motorcycles, ATVs, and other small vehicles to move through them to allow for troops to manoeuvre from place to place: "For the purpose of reinforcing defence positions or for carrying out an attack in a safe, protected and invisible manner."

The report disclosed that the cumulative length of the network could be in the hundreds of kilometres, and one area stretches some 45 kilometres, connecting the area of Sidon to Beqaa.

Similar to the Hamas tunnels, the report revealed that Hezbollah's tunnels contain underground command and control rooms, weapons and supply depots, field clinics and specified designated shafts used to fire missiles of all types.

They are also used for artillery attacks, with the shafts opening for a short period of time before being shut. These shafts are hidden and camouflaged and cannot be detected above ground.

The tunnels in Lebanon, which do not cross the border with Israel, are the same as the tunnels in North Korea, according to the report. Beeri claims that North Korea helped dig the tunnels with the help of its company, Korea Mining Development Trading Corporation, in cooperation with Hezbollah's Jihad Construction Foundation.

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