JERUSALEM – The Israeli military on Monday said it uncovered a militant outpost on the Lebanese border that Hezbollah guerrillas have set up under the guise of an environmental advocacy group.
A senior officer from the military's Northern Command told reporters that the new observation post in the village of Al-Adisa violates the United Nations resolution that ended the 2006 Israel-Hezbollah war and bars militant activity in southern Lebanon. He said Hezbollah is using a tree-planting campaign by the "Green Without Borders" association as a cover for its activity along the border to gather intelligence on Israeli troops.
The Lebanese non-governmental organization has acknowledged its affiliation with the militant group but claims its purpose on the border is purely environmental.
The Israeli officer, speaking on condition of anonymity under military guidelines, said the army discovered five other Hezbollah posts in 2017, in breach of the U.N. agreement.
"We haven't seen any Hezbollah arms yet, but we can see military infrastructure and it's clear this is part of extensive activity in south Lebanon and in Lebanon in general that is a threat to the IDF and to Israel," the officer said, referring to the Israeli Defense Forces. "This is of course a buildup that we cannot tolerate."
The Israeli military on Monday released photos of what it said were the Hezbollah observation posts. One photo showed a uniformed man peering through a window with high-tech binoculars.
Andrea Tenenti, a spokesman for the U.N. peacekeeping force in southern Lebanon, said UNIFIL has "not observed any unauthorized armed persons" at the position and "continues to monitor activities closely," including those of the environmental group.
The Israeli-Lebanon border, though tense, has been mostly quiet in recent years under U.N. supervision.
Israel and Hezbollah fought a devastating monthlong war in 2006, which ended in a stalemate.
Since then, Hezbollah has amassed an arsenal that is believed to include well over 100,000 missiles and rockets aimed at Israel.