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On 4 December, the Israel Defence Forces (IDF) annoucned the beginning of Operation Northern Shield to destroy cross-border tunnels that the Lebanon-based Hezbollah movement had dug. Former Israeli Defence Minister Moshe Ya'alon admitted that the country's officials had been hiding knowledge of the existence of Hezbollah's underground tunnels for years before the IDF announced they were launching a military operation. "We did it to mislead the other side. My comments two years ago that there are no tunnels in the north was a lie in order to preserve the security of the state. I didn't want Hezbollah to know that we knew", he told Army Radio on Thursday. A handful of former military officials and opposition politicians have criticised the way in which the military's op to eliminiate the Hezbollah subterranean threat was revealed to the public.