Israeli Army Says It Downed Hezbollah Drone That Crossed From Lebanon

Yaniv Kubovich
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A guard post on the Israel-Lebanon border, July 2020.
A guard post on the Israel-Lebanon border, July 2020.Credit: Rami Shllush
Yaniv Kubovich

The Israeli army said on Tuesday it had downed a drone belonging to the Iran-backed Lebanese group Hezbollah that crossed into Israel's airspace.

The military said that the drone was monitored by Israeli forces from the moment it entered Israeli airspace, adding that it posed no danger to troops or Israeli citizens in northern communities during the incident.

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The Israel Defense Forces Spokesperson's Unit said in a statement that the army remained on "elevated readiness and will not tolerate any violation of Israeli sovereignty," raising the possibility of an Israeli reprisal.

Israel and Hezbollah are bitter enemies that fought the Second Lebanon War in 2006. A UN-brokered ceasefire has largely kept things quiet since then, but the sides have had several small clashes, most recently last summer.

There was no immediate comment from Hezbollah or the Lebanese government.  

In August, Israel struck Hezbollah targets in Lebanon after troops were fired upon from across the border. No soldiers were hurt in the incident.

This came days after an Israeli drone crashed in Lebanon during operational activity, with the military saying there was no fear that any intelligence had been compromised.

In July, the military said it had stopped an attempted attack by Hezbollah operatives trying to cross the border into Israel. A probe of the incident suggested that the operatives managed to get within 50 meters of a military post, but fled after troops shot toward them. 

Hezbollah had vowed to avenge the death of one of its fighters, who was reportedly killed in an airstrike earlier in July on pro-Iranian militants in Syria that a war-monitoring group attributed to Israel.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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