The tunnels, and the need for an operation to uncover and destroy them, was known to the Security Cabinet when it convened on November 13 and made a decision to accept a ceasefire with Hamas and not launch a larger offensive against the Gaza Strip following the firing of nearly 500 rockets into Israel.
The existence of the tunnels did not appear to have surprised Israel.
"In 2012, we identified the "Conquering the Galilee" plan (Hezbollah leader) Nasrallah has been talking about, and it includes a surprising component of offensive tunnels".
Israel also faces terror tunnels in the south from the Hamas terror organization in Gaza.
There was no immediate comment from Hezbollah and its Al-Manar TV did not make any mention of the Israeli operation.
He said that the operation would not cross the border into Lebanon.More news: Friends officially leaving Netflix on January 1
As early as 2006, the IDF discovered that Hezbollah was building tunnels into its territory from Lebanon, an activity which only increased after the Second Lebanon War.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo pictured in front of a menorah on the second night of the Hanukkah festival, during their meeting on the sidelines of a North Atlantic Treaty Organisation conference in Brussels, Belgium, on December 3, 2018.
Hezbollah is also a powerful political party in Lebanon.
Israel has long voiced concern about Iran's growing military presence along its northern border, warning of an Iranian corridor that could assist in the transfer of weapons to Hezbollah.
Hezbollah, which possesses one of the most powerful militias in the region, has threatened to attack Israel with its vast rocket arsenal if war breaks out. Amid the crisis he took on the defense portfolio from his resigning minister and promised to pursue a hard line against Israel's enemies during what he described as a "complex" security situation.
Israel and Lebanon have been involved in a series of conflicts over the years and the two remain technically at war.
"These Hezbollah activities are conducted from the villages of southern Lebanon while harming Lebanon and jeopardizing its civilians in order to establish its terror infrastructure", the statement read. With Syria's civil war winding down, Hezbollah is now free to re-establish itself back home in Lebanon and refocus on Israel.