Lebanese soldiers monitor the border with Israel near the southern Lebanese village of Meiss el-Jabal on December 16. Photo: AFP

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Wednesday called on the United Nations Security Council to condemn Hezbollah for digging cross-border “attack tunnels” and to demand that Lebanon take action to prevent such activity in its territory.

Netanyahu’s request came ahead of a Security Council meeting to discuss what Israel says is a network of tunnels dug by the Iranian-backed Shiite militant group, four of which have been uncovered.

“I call on all the members of the Security Council to condemn Hezbollah’s wanton acts of aggression, to designate Hezbollah in its entirety as a terrorist organization, to press for heightened sanctions against Hezbollah,” Netanyahu told foreign media in the Israeli parliament.

Israel also asked the Security Council “to demand that Lebanon stop allowing its territory to be allowed to be used as an act of aggression and its citizens to be used as pawns, to support Israel’s right to defend itself against Iranian-inspired and Iranian-conducted aggression,” he said.

On December 4, the Israeli army announced an operation called “Northern Shield” to destroy tunnels it said have been dug under the border by Hezbollah.

Israel fought a devastating war against Hezbollah in 2006 that was ended by a UN-brokered truce.

Hezbollah is the only group in Lebanon that did not disarm after the country’s bloody 1975-1990 civil war.

The Israeli leader called the tunnels “an act of war” and accused the Lebanese government of not preventing their creation.

“The Lebanese government, which should be the first to challenge this and protest this, is doing nothing at best, and colluding at worst,” he said.

Netanyahu noted that UNIFIL, the UN peacekeeping force in south Lebanon, has confirmed the existence of the four tunnels, stressing that it must be given immediate and “unlimited access” to observe and document them.

– with reporting by Agence France-Presse