Netanyahu: Israel conducted airstrikes on Iranian weapons in Syria

IDF Chief of Staff Gadi Eisenkott speaks at a conference at the Interdisciplinary Center in Herzliya

IDF Chief of Staff Gadi Eisenkott speaks at a conference at the Interdisciplinary Center in Herzliya

Speaking Sunday at an Israeli Cabinet meeting, Netanyahu said: "Just in the last 36 hours the air force attacked Iranian warehouses containing Iranian weapons in the Damascus worldwide airport".

After previously reporting the discovery of five tunnels, the Israeli military said another had been found yesterday, 55 metres deep and reaching "a few tens of metres" into Israel from a point 800 metres within Lebanon.

Israel has until now generally refrained from commenting about the strikes for fear of triggering a reaction and being drawn into the deadly fighting in neighbouring Syria's civil war.

With the sixth Hezbollah tunnel discovered Saturday afternoon, Israel declared victory and announced the completion of Operation Northern Shield on Sunday.

Coupled with the announcement that after Sunday's discovery, Israel was wrapping up its operation to destroy Hezbollah's tunnel network into Israel, the weekend strike in Syria is widely seen as Eisenkot's "parting shot" as his four-year tenure as military chief ends.

Israel's vulnerability to tunnels was laid bare during its war with Palestinian group Hamas in Gaza in 2014 when Palestinian fighters used dozens of secret passages dug from Gaza into Israel to launch surprise attacks.

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Eisenkot also revealed the government approved his shift in strategy in January 2017, stepping up airstrikes in Syria. "According to our intelligence, there are no longer any cross-border attack tunnels into Israel".

Despite the Lieutenant General's claim about a moral high ground in the battle against the perceived Iranian threat, the Israeli Air Force was caught in several reckless -and sometimes lethal- actions during their missions in Syria.

Hezbollah has not commented on the tunnels, the existence of several of which has been confirmed by Unifil peacekeepers.

The military said its forces will remain in the border area to monitor any further underground activity. It has been clear about preventing the build-up of Iranian proxy forces near the Israeli occupied Golan Heights and the transfer of sophisticated missiles and equipment to the Tehran-backed Hezbollah.

Long wary of publicity around its operations against Iran-linked targets on its northern front, Israel has been lifting the veil in recent days - a sign of confidence in a campaign waged amid occasional tension with Syria's big-power backer, Russia.

A month-long war in 2006 between Israel and Hezbollah killed more than 1,200 Lebanese, mostly civilians, and more than 160 Israelis, mostly soldiers.

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