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Detecting Hezbollah Attack Tunnels Shakes Northern Israeli City



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By F. Brune Bruton and Paul Goldman

METOULA, Israel – A soldier rushes to a farmer who has just walked around a metal gate to climb on red earth.

"Go back," the soldier commands as the rumble of the generator fills the air.

"But this is my land," Haim Stroe replies. The 71

-year-old Strode, called Hamke, stands on the ground with his wife Miriam, the officially restricted military zone.

Behind the couple, rows of winter apples move to Matullah, the northernmost city of Israel. The soldier keeps a long white tent that squatted against a huge concrete wall. Above the impressive barrier stands a hill dotted with houses – the Lebanese town of Kafr Kella. Hezbollah bombers have dug a tunnel across the border from Lebanon. Dusan Vranic / about NBC News

Just a few weeks ago, the trees of Stroe have grown on the ground. On December 4, the couple and the nation understood that a "raid tunnel" was found in the territory of Israel that led to Lebanon.

The first of the six tunnels, which were finally found, ran beneath the farmland near Metlou, which is situated among orchards with apples, plums and peaches, which ring with parakeets chirrups and cow-caw on crows. hundreds of Hezbollah fighters could go through the tunnels, kidnap and kill civilians and soldiers.

Some in Mutula argue that the city would be captured by Hezbollah, a pro-Palestinian militant group and a political party dominated by Lebanese politicians and sponsored by hotly anti-Israel Iran.

Hezbollah's fighters are returning home from the Syrian war where they have helped President Bashar Assad fight the rebels who were trying to bring him down. The fears are rising that once the battles overwhelming the battles return to an estimated 100,000 missile and rocket arsenal, they will increase their focus on their original enemy: Israel.

Metula, at the top of a stretch of land Lebanon is especially vulnerable to frequent outbursts of enemies across the border. The city was shot during the Hezbollah-Israel war in 2006, which devastated parts of Lebanon.

During the decade before the Israeli invasion of southern Lebanon in 1982, Palestinian fighters' missiles often sent residents to shelters

But no Stroke missiles would have chased this third-generation farmer from his home.

Stoicism was far from annoyance when warning sirens sounded, and his wife chased the four children of the couple. family, minus dad, in the shelter, the kids were crying about the absence of Stroe. "This is the problem".

68-year-old Miriam Hod is an artist with short hair, broad eyes and flowers tattooed on the soft skin of her right hand. [19659909] Dusan Wranich / for NBC News

Haim Hod smiles, his white teeth protruding on the skin, darkened by fieldwork at the age of 9. "I always sleep in my bed." Stroke may be brave, but he wept last month when he saw what the army had done with his garden. The military rolled their precious apple trees, broke suitcases and branches as they moved toward Hezbollah's newly opened tunnel. Clearance made 350 trucks that flooded the cement tunnel.

"The trees are like my children," he says. "But security comes before children."

The government will reimburse Hods for the losses incurred during the operation.

The long period of Hods' possession in Metula has seen many such compromises, thick stone walls of the 120's.

Miriam and Haim Hodd sit in front of a tent erected by Israeli soldiers over the open tunnel, with the border wall and the Lebanese village of Kafr Kella behind them. The grandparents of Haim Hodd were the first couple to marry the city after Baron Edmond de Rothschild, who encouraged the settlement of the Jews in present Israel, bought the land from the local Arabic Family

Times were often difficult and the family needed four decades to pay off to the French descendant of the banks. Together with other peasants, they had to escape periodically from violent fires.

After the state of Israel was created in 1948, poverty pushed many of the ten uncles and aunts to Haim Hod. Some have gone abroad, but others have remained and helped "build Israel," says Miriam.

Israel is now warning that it could hit Hezbollah because of the tunnels.

"This is not just an act of aggression. This is an act of war, "Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said shortly after announcing the opening of the tunnel. "People in Lebanon must understand that Hezbollah puts them at risk, and we expect Lebanon to take action."

Such statements are part of a wider effort to keep Hezbollah and Iran on the northern border of Israel. Israel has only recently admitted that it has committed thousands of attacks against Iranian forces in Syria since 2011, abandoning the secrecy policy that hid its military raids. On January 20, Israel attacked targets near Damascus – killing 21, including at least 12 members of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard, according to a Syrian War Monitoring Group.

In response, Iran fired a rocket to the crowded Mount Hermon ski resort. She was captured by the Israeli missile defense system. On Monday, the Iranian Air Force chief said: "We are ready for the decisive war that will lead to Israel's disappearance from Earth."