JERUSALEM, Israel – Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu spoke with President Trump for a second time this week over the US decision to withdraw US troops from Syria.
Netanyahu said Israel plans to keep up the pressure to prevent Iran from gaining more power inside Syria.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu Responds to US Troop Withdrawal from Syria, Screen Capture, AP
"We will continue to act very aggressively against Iran's attempts to entrench itself in Syria. On these two fronts, we don't intend to reduce our efforts; we will intensify them. I know we are doing this with the complete support and backing of the United States," he said.
Israeli Border with Syria, Photo, CBN News, Jonathan Goff
Netanyahu made the comments at a joint summit with the leaders of Greece and Cyprus a day after President Trump announced he would withdraw US troops from Syria.
He said that Israel is continuing its efforts to neutralize cross-border terror tunnels from Lebanon belonging to Hezbollah, Iran's Lebanese proxy.
IDF Troops Neutralizing Hezbollah Terror Tunnels near the Border with Lebanon, Photo, IDF
"We are continuing our efforts to neutralize the terror tunnels," Netanyahu said. "At this time, we are employing special means to bring about the special neutralization of these tunnels."
The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) released footage, along with a statement, saying it was beginning what it called the "neutralization and destruction phase" of the cross-border tunnels.
Israeli Troops Destroying Hezbollah Cross-Border Tunnels in Operation North Shield, Photo, IDF
"This phase will be carried out using several methods and means, which will ensure that the attack tunnels cannot be used by the Hezbollah terror organization and will prevent it from implementing its plans," the statement read.
'The Blue Line' Graphic, IDF
The IDF said Israel is holding the Lebanese government accountable for the digging of the attack tunnels and warned Lebanese residents to stay away from the openings of the tunnels on their side of the border.
A short while later, the IDF released another statement explaining that the explosions heard near the border were a result of their neutralizing the tunnels.
Israeli Forces Blow Up Hezbollah Attack Tunnel, Photo, IDF
Lebanese Ambassador to the UN Amal Mudallali complained earlier that Israel was acting aggressively.
"We all know too well how the so-called Israeli right of pre-emptive self-defense, which by the way has no international legal basis, is used to justify illegal aggressive acts and invasions," she said.
Lebanese UN Ambassador Amal Mudallali, Screen Capture, AP
Earlier in the week, Netanyahu said comparing Israel's self-defense to Hezbollah's aggression isn't fair.
"It's like saying the police acted against the bank robbers, so they use violence too. Well give me a break. There is no symmetry between the bank robber and the police, and there is no symmetry between the arsonist and the fire brigade. We're the fire brigade," he said.