Israeli Jets Reportedly Seen Over Beirut After Drone Crossed Border

Lebanon's Hezbollah says it had flown a drone over Israel on a reconnaissance mission for 40 minutes

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The Iron Dome defense system on the Israel-Lebanon border, February 18, 2022.
The Iron Dome defense system on the Israel-Lebanon border, February 18, 2022. Credit: JALAA MAREY / AFP

A loud sound heard in Beirut was likely caused Friday by Israeli warplanes flying over the Lebanese capital, according to a security source and a Reuters witness.

Israeli planes were flying low over Beirut at the time, the security source said. A Reuters witness reported two jets in the skies over the capital.

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Earlier in the day, Israeli aerial defenses were triggered and fighter jets scrambled after a drone crossed over from Lebanon into, triggering a rocket alert in the Upper Galilee, before returning to Lebanon.

Lebanon's Hezbollah group said it had flown a drone over Israel on a reconnaissance mission for 40 minutes.

The Israeli military said that the Iron Dome missile defense system was activated and helicopters and fighter jets were scrambled to patrol the area, but “after a few minutes, radar contact was lost with the aircraft. It then returned to Lebanon.”

Iron Dome air defense batteries in Israel's north, near the Lebanon border, on Friday.Credit: JALAA MAREY / AFP

Residents of towns and communities north of the Sea of Galilee reported a blast, which may have been the Iron Dome interceptors.

Israel's Home Front Command later announced a return to normal.

On Thursday, the military said it shot down an unmanned aircraft launched by Lebanon's Hezbollah militant group into Israeli airspace, in the sixth interception of a Hezbollah drone over the past year.

The incident occurred just a day after Hezbollah's chief, Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah, said his group has been manufacturing military drones in Lebanon and has the technology to turn thousands of missiles in its possession into precision-guided munitions.

Israel and Hezbollah are bitter enemies that fought a monthlong war in 2006 that ended in a stalemate. Israel considers the Iranian-backed Hezbollah to be its greatest immediate threat, possessing an estimated 150,000 rockets and missiles capable of striking anywhere in Israel.

Israel has long expressed concerns that Hezbollah would obtain or develop guided missiles and attack drones. It routinely carries out strikes in neighboring Syria, many of which are believed to be aimed at halting Iranian arms shipments to Hezbollah.

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