Syria intercepts Israeli missiles fired toward Damascus

EPA-EFE  YAHYA NEMAH

EPA-EFE YAHYA NEMAH

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.

Netanyahu also cited the Israeli military's assessment that it has completed its search-and-destroy mission against Hezbollah attack tunnels.

Israel and Hezbollah last fought a war in 2006.

The tunnel would be destroyed in the coming days, Conricus said, adding that while more tunnels still existed on the Lebanese side of the border, this effectively marked the end of the ambitious military operation.

On a visit to an area near the Israeli border with Lebanon on Sunday, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu hailed the success of the operation dubbed "Northern Shield".

He also said that the Israel Defense Force had attacked Iranian and Hezbollah targets "hundreds of times". Hezbollah's Al-Manar TV said the attack was "broader than usual", and targeted areas stretching from the eastern Damascus suburb of Dmeir to Kiswa, south of the capital, and all the way to the western village of Dimas near the Lebanese border.

Lt Gen Conricus says the United Nations peacekeeping mission, known as Unifil, had been updated on the latest development.

Israel alleges Hezbollah had planned to use the tunnels to kidnap or kill its civilians or soldiers, and to seize a slice of Israeli territory in the event of any hostilities.

Netanyahu, visiting the northern border later on Sunday, put the number at "between 1,000 and 2,000" Hezbollah fighters.

It has said, however, that they were not yet operational. But with that war winding down, Israeli security officials fear Hezbollah is refocusing its attention on Israel.

Israel says all operations have taken place within its territory.

The outgoing IDF chief of staff has acknowledged that Israel has been bombing Syria on a "near-daily" basis for years, in a massive military campaign allegedly aimed at degrading Tehran's supposed military buildup in the region. It said it holds the Lebanese government responsible for everything happening in its territory.

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