Lebanese Army Says It Shot at Israeli Drones Entering Airspace

Reported incident comes amid tensions over alleged Israeli drone attack in Beirut on Sunday

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A DJI Phantom 4 drone, also used by the Israeli army, February 2017.
A DJI Phantom 4 drone, also used by the Israeli army, February 2017.Credit: Gad Ganir

The Lebanese army said it opened fire at two of three Israeli drones that breached Lebanese airspace on Wednesday evening in the south of the country near the Israeli border, and all three returned to Israeli airspace.

They first entered Lebanese airspace at 7:30 P.M. and returned to Israel after shots were fired, the army statement said. A second drone returned to Israel without being fired at. The army fired at a third one which also returned back to Israel, it said.

>> Read more: As Trump signals talks with Rohani, Israel ratchets up tensions with Iran | Analysis ■ Israel broke the rules fo the game with Hezbollah, and now the ball is in Nasrallah's court | Analysis

Earlier Wednesday, Haaretz reported that a strike in Beirut on Sunday, which has been attributed to Israel, hit a central component of Hezbollah's missile program. It damaged a planetary mixer — an industrial-sized mixer weighing about eight tons, needed to create propellants that can improve the engine performance of missiles and increase their accuracy. The machine was hit, as far as we know, shortly before Hezbollah planned to move it to a secured site.

Hezbollah chief Hassan Nasrallah, who accused Israel of carrying out this strike and a second one – which killed two Lebanese Hezbollah fighters near Damascus a few hours earlier – threatened retaliation for both strikes. The Israeli army is bracing for a reprisal, possibly within the next few days.

Lebanese President Michel Aoun said on Monday that Lebanon had a right to defend itself, what he said were Israeli drone strikes to a "declaration of war."

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