The attack tunnels have always been rumored to have been dug from southern Lebanon into Israeli territory by the Iran backed terror group, but Israeli defense officials repeatedly either denied their existence or refused to discuss it.
According to Conricus, the tunnels were part of a Hezbollah plan from 2012 to "shift the battlefield to Israel" and "conquer the Galilee" in a future conflict by infiltrating its territory. "For the last four years, we have been monitoring their activity, following what they have been doing quite closely", he said.
He has previously warned Israel that Hezbollah will react strongly against Israeli targets in response to any Israeli attack.
Israeli military spokesperson Avichay Adraee said the Lebanese government was responsible for the build-up of the tunnels.
Hours after launching "Operation Northern Shield" on Tuesday morning, the IDF said it was readying to destroy a Hezbollah tunnel burrowed some 40 meters into Israeli territory. He declined to say how many were detected or how they would be cut off. The tunnels are proof, he added, that bolsters Israel's long-held opinion that Hezbollah's military strategy includes using civilian infrastructure.
On Tuesday, bulldozers and military vehicles were seen operating near the pastoral Israeli border town of Metula. However, the Israeli operation could send tensions soaring between Israel and its Iranian-backed foe, which have both been preoccupied with other conflicts since their last conflagration more than a decade ago.
The Lebanese military issued a statement saying the situation on the Lebanese side of the border is "calm and stable", adding that army units deployed in the area were carrying on with their usual missions in coordination with United Nations peacekeepers.
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The Lebanese Armed Forces went on high alert in southern Lebanon after the announcement, a security official told al-Nahar.
Since their last fought war in 2006, Hezbollah has strengthened its military capabilities significantly with an estimated arsenal of some 100,000 and 120,000 short-and medium-range missiles and rockets, as well as several hundred long-range missiles trained on the Jewish State.
Israel has long voiced concern about Iran's growing military presence along its northern border, warning of an Iranian corridor that could assist in the transfer of weapons to Hezbollah.
The operation comes weeks after Netanyahu faced a major crisis in his governing coalition over the handling of a cease-fire with Gaza militants.
Israel also faces terror tunnels in the south from the Hamas terror organization in Gaza.
Hezbollah is also a powerful political party in Lebanon.
"Since 2006, we've been identifying Hezbollah's efforts to build defensive tunnels on its territory, activity it increased after the (Second Lebanon) war", the IDF Spokesman's Office said.