The US state department on Monday condemned Lebanon’s Hezbollah group, backed by Iran, for digging several tunnels into Israel and stockpiling its rockets, as recently Washington stepped up its efforts to isolate Tehran.
According to Reuters news reports, during the recent weeks, the Israeli forces have uncovered tunnels what they said were dug by Hezbollah group, and Lebanon complained about Israel’s construction of barriers along with the disputed regions of the border.
The United States, the closet ally of Israel, views Hezbollah as a terrorist militants groups and has even pledged to take tougher steps regarding countering Iranian influence in the area, but has also reiterated its commitment to back the Lebanese government which also includes Hezbollah representatives and army.
Last week, secretary of state Mike Pompeo vowed to expel “every last Iranian boot” from war-torn Syria country, where Iran has been fighting alongside Hezbollah, and where the Israel forces have been carrying out several strikes against both.
After a meeting with Lebanese Prime Minister Saad al-Hariri, the US under-secretary of state for political affairs David Hale said: “While Lebanon has the right to defend itself, that is the right of the Lebanese state alone.”
Hale added: “It is unacceptable to have a militia outside the control of the state, and unanswerable to all people of Lebanon digging attack tunnels across the blue line to Israel or assembling an arsenal of over 100,000 missiles with which to threaten regional stability.”
Israel, which considers Hezbollah group as the biggest threat over its border, said on Sunday, it had finalized efforts to find and destroy the tunnels dug by Hezbollah under the frontier, which the group said had dug to infiltrate its fighters during future wars.
However, the Hezbollah group has not commented over the tunnels matter. Last week, Lebanon’s national security council said Israel’s border wall constituted an act of aggression.
Last week, after completing his term as Israel army chief, Lieutenant General Gadi Eizenkot said, “Israel’s interest is to keep the (situation) quiet. I think for them (Hezbollah), that interest is even greater.”
In the early 1980s, Iran had set up Hezbollah to fight Israel’s occupation of south Lebanon but then retained its equipment and weapons after the Israeli forces withdrew in 2000 and became the strongest political force in the country.