On Wednesday, Dec. 5 – Day 2 of IDF’s Operation Northern Shield – Hizballah propagandists released a video showing the IDF uncovering a second assault tunnel, after 24 hours of “no comment” on the operation. It was shown as running up to the Western Galilee Moshav Zar’it. According to DEBKAfile sources, this tunnel was dug from the Lebanese village of Ramaya. The Hizballah video also showed heavy Israeli military equipment at work.
Now, it was the turn of the IDF spokesman to withhold comment.
Later Wednesday afternoon, Hizballah “revealed” that Israeli troops were preparing to uncover a third tunnel running from Bin Jubeil, indicating that its target was Moshav Avivim. (See attached map.)
Still no comment from the Israeli army spokesman.
Hizballah is working hard to refute the claim by Israel’s Minister of Transportation Yisrael Katz that its chief Hassan Nasrallah is in shock. In fact, he is shown to be orchestrating a cunning campaign to ridicule the IDF operation as no more than a pointless exercise and run ahead of its spokesman. He is served well by three openings.
- The IDF, aided by sensational local media, made the mistake of overloading the first tunnel exposed on Tuesday – the one running from Kila in Lebanon up to the orchards of Metula – with four years of Israeli-Hizballah border history. Its presentation to the media was accompanied by graphic descriptions of events leading up to the present and included a claim that this tunnel was the designated gateway for the entry of special forces of Hizballah and an Iraqi Shiite militia for conquering Metulah.
- By sitting on the figures and exact sectors of the tunnels, the IDF opened the door for Hizballah to take charge of the propaganda surrounding its operation.
- There has been no word from the IDF on how the Metulah tunnel is to be disabled. Will concrete be poured into the passage? Will it be blown up? Will it be left as it is? For Hizballah – and even more for Tehran – this gap in the flow of information attests to hesitancy on the part of the IDF, or possibly an argument in high places on how to handle it. This outcome should have been decided before the operation began and executed expeditiously.
- Hassan Nasrallah, Hizballah’s chief, was able to enlist Lebanese Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri, the leader of a rival Shiite party in Lebanon and, in the absence of a stable government, the second strongest politician in the country. On Wednesday, Berri stepped foward to cast doubt on Israel’s claims of Hizballah terror tunnels. “The Israeli version of a tunnel in the village of Kila is dubious,” he said. He urged Beirut to demand the exact coordinates of the alleged tunnels and remarked: “If the Israelis want to go digging in their own country, fair enough. But if its excavations penetrate Lebanon, that is another matter.” The Shiite politician was clearly threatening Israel with Lebanese military intervention.