Hezbollah chief claims responsibility for drone that entered Israeli airspace
Nasrallah says drone aircraft flew over 'sensitive installations' and was shot down near the Dimona nuclear reactor.
Hezbollah chief Hassan Nasrallah on Thursday claimed responsibility for a drone that was shot down by Israel after it had entered its airspace last week.
Israeli officials had previously hinted that the drone might have been the work of the Shiite movement, which is believed to have advanced Iranian weapons and has sent drones over Israel in the past.
Nasrallah said on Thursday the drone aircraft which his group sent into Israel was shot down near the Dimona nuclear reactor.
"The drone flew over sensitive installations inside southern Palestine," he said in a televised speech.
"The Resistance in Lebanon (Hezbollah) sent a sophisticated reconnaissance drone from Lebanon toward the [Mediterranean] Sea ... before it entered [Israeli airspace] and hovered over many important locations before it was discovered by the Israeli air force," Nasrallah said in a televised speech on the movement's al-Manar television.
He said the unarmed drone was not Russian made, but Iranian and was assembled in Lebanon.
"The drone managed to arrive in an area close to the Dimona plant," Nasrallah said.
The Hezbollah chief said that the main achievement of the drone was to fly that far in an area secured by U.S.-Israeli air defense systems.
"We will leave it for the Israelis to sit down and discover the drone's abilities ... We are only revealing part of our capabilities and concealing many others," Nasrallah added.
The United Nations peacekeeping force in Lebanon denied earlier this week that the drone had come from Lebanon.
Earlier Thursday, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu accused Hezbollah of sending the drone.
In a statement from his office, Netanyahu said during a tour of the southern frontier with Egypt that Israel would "act with determination to defend its borders", just as "we thwarted over the weekend Hezbollah's attempt" to penetrate Israeli airspace.
Under surveillance by Israeli fighter jets, it was shot down on Saturday over a forest near the West Bank.
On Saturday, the Israeli Air Force shot down an unidentified aerial vehicle that penetrated Israel's airspace.
The IDF said Saturday that the drone arrived in Israel from the west after flying over the Mediterranean and the Gaza Strip.
After the drone traveled east some 35 miles (56 km) across Israel's southern Negev desert, the drone was shot down above a forest in an unpopulated area near the border with the West Bank, the IDF spokesperson said.
On at least one previous occasion, Hezbollah has launched a drone into Israel across its northern border with Lebanon.