Two Israeli Drones, One Loaded With Explosives, Crash in Beirut, Hezbollah Says

Explosion hits Lebanese group's media center ■ Retracting claim it shot down the drone, Hezbollah says one was captured and being analyzed ■ Nasrallah set to speak on Sunday

Damage to a building housing a media center of the Lebanese Shi'ite group Hezbollah in the south of the capital Beirut, August 25, 2019.
Damage to a building housing a media center of the Lebanese Shi'ite group Hezbollah in the south of the capital Beirut, August 25, 2019.Credit: ANWAR AMRO/AFP

An Israeli drone fell on the roof of Hezbollah's media center office in Beirut early Sunday morning, causing an explosion, and another was captured, the Iran-backed group said.

Contradicting an earlier report that a Hezbollah official said the group had shot down one of the drones, an official statement now claims the militant group did not fire at either drone.

The incident came just a few hours after Israel confirmed conducting an airstrike in Syria and said it had foiled an Iranian drone attack.

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A Hezbollah spokesman said one booby-trapped drone “caused a massive explosion and severe damage” to the group’s media center in the Moawwad neighborhood in the Shi'ite quarter of Beirut commonly known as Dahieh, while the second one fell “without causing any damage.”

The spokesman, Mohammed Afif, added that the drone that was captured “is currently being analyzed.”

Lebanon’s National News Agency reported Sunday that three people were wounded in the explosion at the media center.

"We did not shoot down or explode any of the drones," Afif told The Associated Press.

He also said Hezbollah’s Secretary General Hassan Nasrallah is due to “respond harshly” to the incident in a speech slated for 5 P.M. local time.

The Lebanese army said that one of the drones fell and another exploded in the soouthern suburbs of the capital at 2:30 A.M. local time, causing only material damage.

Lebanese security stand near the site where an Israeli drone was said to have crashed in a suburb of Beirut, August 25, 2019.Credit: AP Photo/Bilal Hussein

"The army arrived immediately and cordoned off the area where the two drones fell," the army statement said.

People in southern Beirut meanwhile said a large explosion has shaken a Hezbollah stronghold and triggered a fire. Residents of the district rocked by the explosion said Hezbollah sealed off the area.

After the military confirmed the airstrike in Syria, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said: "I repeat: Iran has no immunity anywhere [. . .] I have given the instruction to prepare for any scenario. We will continue to act against Iran and its proxies with determination and responsibility on behalf of Israel's security."

Military spokesman Brig. Gen. Ronen Manelis said the strike targeted Iranian forces, Iranian-sponsored Shi'ite militias, and equipment.

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