Hezbollah claims downing Israeli drone over southern Lebanon

United Nations peacekeeping forces' vehicles patrol the Lebanese southern coastal area of Naqura [File: Mahmoud Zayyat/AFP]
United Nations peacekeeping forces’ vehicles patrol the Lebanese southern coastal area of Naqura [File: Mahmoud Zayyat/AFP]

Lebanon’s Hezbollah movement has said it shot down an Israeli drone that flew over the United Nations-demarcated Blue Line border.

In a statement carried by the movement’s Al Manar TV, Hezbollah said it “downed a drone belonging to the Israeli enemy that had entered Lebanese airspace outside Blida” in southern Lebanon on Monday.

The Israeli army said, during an operational activity along the Blue Line, a drone had fallen in the Lebanese territory. “There is no risk of breach of information,” it said, Hezbollah has in the past claimed downing Israeli drones. The incident comes 10 days after the Israeli army shot down an unmanned aircraft it said had entered its airspace from Lebanon. Israel and Lebanon are still technically at war, and UN forces UNIFIL patrols the border. Tensions in the region have been rising over the past months amid Israeli air attacks on Iran-backed fighters in neighbouring Syria.

Last year, Hezbollah pledged to respond to the killing of one of its fighters in an Israeli raid in Syria. Israeli warplanes and drones violate Lebanon’s airspace almost daily. The frequency of low-flying warplanes over Beirut and other parts of Lebanon has intensified in the past weeks, making residents jittery as tensions run high in the region. Israel and Hezbollah fought to a stalemate in a monthlong war in Lebanon in 2006.

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