Ground Sources Say Israeli Air Force Conducting Flyovers in Lebanon

IAF reportedly conducts several sorties, including simulation of low-altitude attacks, amid concerns for chemical weapons transfers from Syria to Hezbollah.

Jack Khoury
Jack Khoury
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Jack Khoury
Jack Khoury

Israeli Air Force planes conducted several sorties in Lebanese air space on Friday, according to reports from Lebanese sources.

The fly-overs, according to the sources, were ongoing throughout the morning and focused from the southern sector of Marjayoun and Al Khayyam, up to the Beqaa valley in the east. According to these reports, some of the planes simulated low altitude attacks, as part of activity which started on Thursday.

UNIFIL forces in southern Lebanon reported that two brigades conducted exercises in the area, including searches for unexploded bombs and weapons.

Israeli sorties over Lebanon have been reported for several months now. These reports have appeared on Lebanese websites ever since the reports regarding an Israeli attack in Syria which targeted chemical weapons stockpiles, as well as following two recent incidents involving unmanned drones which originated in Lebanon.

Lebanese media are reporting the large maneuverers taking place in the north as well as the mobilization of reserve forces in Israel, based on reports originating in Israel. According to a spokesperson for UNIFIL, the international policing force stationed in southern Lebanon, they were informed of these exercises, and the information was transferred to the Lebanese authorities. This information exchange appears to be ongoing.

Sources in Lebanon further report that a delegation of American diplomats, including the U.S. military attache in Beirut, toured some border areas in southern Lebanon earlier this week, exploring a handful of areas disputed by Israel and Lebanon. The American delegation heard complaints by Lebanon regarding Kibbutz Misgav Am's takeover of 2,400 dunams (about 600 acres) of farming land belonging to the village of Al Adisa.

Despite these developments, it appears that that the government and army in Lebanon are more concerned with events in Syria and their implications for Lebanon. This concern was heightened last week by the declaration of Hezbollah chief Hassan Nasrallah, who stated that “Syria has friends who will not allow it to fall into the hands of the Americans.” Saad Hariri, who is Nasrallah’s rival and head of the March 14 Movement advocating for regime change in Syria, accused Nasrallah of trying to entangle Lebanon in the sectarian conflict that has ravaged Syria for more than two years.

IAF F-16B jets. Credit: Yuval Tebol

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