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The Daily TIP: IDF Announces Discovery of First Hezbollah Terror Tunnel, Launches Operation Northern Shield

Posted by Tip Staff - December 04, 2018

IDF Announces Discovery of First Hezbollah Terror Tunnel, Launches Operation Northern Shield
Following Launch, U.S. Urges EU to Sanction Iran over Ballistic Missile Program
U.S. “Strongly Supports” Israel’s Operation to Destroy Hezbollah’s Terror Tunnels
Corporate Investment in Israeli Startups Is up 30% During First Three-Quarters of 2018

IDF Announces Discovery of First Hezbollah Terror Tunnel, Launches Operation Northern Shield

The IDF announced that it had located a terror tunnel, constructed by Hezbollah, that extended 40 meters (131 feet) into Israel, as it launched Operation Northern Shield, a campaign to eliminate the threat of terror tunnels along Israel's northern border, The Jerusalem Post reported Tuesday.

The first tunnel, which, according to the IDF, took two years to build and was equipped with electricity, ventilation, and communication infrastructure, extended 600 feet from the southern Lebanese village of Kfar Kila. It was six feet high and six feet wide.

“The digging of the cross-border attack tunnels that the IDF has discovered before the attack tunnels became operational and posed an imminent threat to the safety of Israeli civilians, constitutes a flagrant and severe violation of Israeli sovereignty,” IDF Spokesperson Brig.-Gen. Ronen Manelis said in a statement.

According to Manelis, the goal of the operation is to locate and destroy all the terror tunnels along the border. The spokesperson explained that Hezbollah for years has been saying that its goal in the next war with Israel would be to "liberate" the Galilee.

"We are prepared for all options, and the operation is only in its first day. The neutralizing of the tunnels will not necessarily take place within our territory,” Manelis continued.

Manelis also said that the tunnel's entrance was in a house in the village, an indication of Hezbollah's tactic of using civilian infrastructure and human shields to protect its military buildup.

This is consistent with the assessment of IDF chief of staff Lt. Gen. Gadi Eisenkot, who warned in June of last year that Hezbollah has a presence in “every third or fourth house” in southern Lebanon.

“For a number of years, the IDF General Staff has been leading this effort, which recently reached the necessary operational conditions,” the army explained in a statement.

Following Launch, U.S. Urges EU to Sanction Iran over Ballistic Missile Program

The United States on Monday called on European countries to impose sanctions on Iran, after the Islamic Republic test-fired a medium-range ballistic missile that can carry multiple warheads in defiance of the United Nations resolution that endorsed the 2015 Iran nuclear deal, JNS reported.

“We would like to see the European Union [impose] sanctions that target Iran’s missile program,” said Brian Hook, a senior policy adviser to the U.S. Secretary of State and special envoy for Iran.

In December of last year, Germany and France called on Iran to end its ballistic missile program. Their plea was rejected by Iran. Earlier in 2017, Germany, France, the U.S., and the United Kingdom wrote a letter to UN Secretary General António Guterres, charging that Iran’s launch of a satellite violated resolution 2231, which implemented the nuclear deal.

Hook, who addressed the press on his way to a summit of top NATO officials in Brussels, called Iran’s ballistic missile program “a grave and escalating threat” and urged “nations around the world—not just Europe,” to do everything in their power to confront Iranian aggression.

Hook, agreeing with Israel’s assessment of Tehran’s destabilizing role in the Middle East, observed that Iranian-backed and controlled “militias spread like a cancer, eroding stability and threatening peace and global trade in both the Strait of Hormuz and the Bab el-Mandeb.”

The envoy noted that “We have been warning the world for some time that we are accumulating risk of a regional conflict if we do not deter Iran’s missile testing and proliferation,” adding “Iran is on the wrong track, and our campaign of maximum economic pressure is designed to starve the regime of revenue it needs to test missiles and to proliferate missiles, for terrorism, conduct cyber-attacks and make acts of maritime aggression and many human rights abuses.”

U.S. “Strongly Supports” Israel’s Operation to Destroy Hezbollah’s Terror Tunnels

Senior United States administration officials expressed their support for Israel's recently-commenced operation intended to eliminate the threat of Hezbollah's terror tunnels extending into Israeli territory.

The Times of Israel reported Tuesday that National Security Adviser John Bolton said that the U.S. "strongly supports" Israel's right to "defend its sovereignty," after the IDF started Operation Northern Shield and located a tunnel that extended some 130 feet into Israel from the Lebanese village Kfar Kila.

Bolton called on Hezbollah to "stop its tunneling into Israel and to refrain from escalation and violence." He also demanded that "Iran and all of its agents" end "their regional aggression and provocation."

Bolton's expressed support of Israel's right to self-defense against the Iran-backed terrorist group echoed sentiments expressed by U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Monday, after he met with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Brussels.

The meeting between the two was reported to be about developments in Lebanon, among other shared concerns. Netanyahu said on his way to Brussels that he would be discussing "the aggression of Iran and its proxies in the North" with Pompeo.

In his meeting with America's top diplomat, Netanyahu was accompanied by Mossad head Yossi Cohen; National Security Council head Meir Ben-Shabbat; and his military secretary Avi Bluth.

After the meeting, a State Department readout said that Pompeo "emphasized the United States' commitment to Israel's security and absolute right to self-defense."

Corporate Investment in Israeli Startups Is up 30% During First Three-Quarters of 2018

According to IVC research center in Tel Aviv, in the first three-quarters of 2018 corporates made 157 investments in Israeli startups— up 30 percent from historical annual levels in 2013–2015 — which accounted for 18% of total capital raised in that period.

“If this trend continues, we will have seen a record level of corporate investment at the end of 2018,” IVC reports.

The largest investment in an Israeli company during the month of November 2018 was $75 million for Tel Aviv-based startup Habana Labs, in a Series B round led by Intel Capital with participation from WRV Capital, Bessemer Venture Partners, Battery Ventures and others. Founded in 2016, Habana is in the emerging AI processor space.

Next in line was Hod HaSharon-based Valens, developer of HDBaseT technology for the audiovisual and automotive markets, which raised $63 million from Linse Capital and Oppenheimer Asset Management.

Jerusalem-based Lightricks announced a $60 million Series B funding round led by Insight Venture Partners, with participation from Claltech. The company designs and develops content creation tools, including portrait-editing brand Facetune and the Enlight Creativity Suite. Lightricks apps have about 100 million downloads worldwide and nearly 1 million subscribers.

Direct-to-shape printing company Velox of Rosh HaAyin raised $32 million in a round led by JAL Ventures and O.R.T. Technologies with the participation of Altana and Evonik Industries.

(via Israel21c)

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