The Israeli military has increased its forces securing a disputed natural gas drill in the Mediterranean Sea, fearing attempts by Lebanese terror organization Hezbollah to attack it.
The leader of the Iran-backed militant group, Hassan Nasrallah, said on Monday that all Israeli gas and oil fields are potential targets. "No targets at sea or on land are out of reach for the resistance's precision missiles," he told Al Mayadeen network.
Israel has beefed up its forces around the Karish gas field several weeks ago, following the downing of four Hezbollah drones over the Mediterranean Sea.
One drone was shot down over Lebanon’s territorial waters in late June, and did not pose danger to Israel, according to the Israel Defense Forces. A few days later, on July 2, the IDF successfully intercepted three Hezbollah drones over the Mediterranean.
The three drones were shot down by fighter jets and the Israeli Navy's Barak interception system. The military believes that the drones were not armed, and did not pose a risk to the country or to the gas field.
Hezbollah admitted to sending the drones later that day, claiming they were sent to Karish "for intelligence gathering purposes."
- Hezbollah sends a message with three unarmed drones over Israel's maritime zone
- Hezbollah flexes its muscles at Israel's doorstep with several new border positions
- Hezbollah’s drones are aimed at Lebanon’s president too
Israeli military officials are concerned that any Hezbollah attack targeting the gas field might trigger an Israeli response, possibly leading to a large-scale escalation on the Lebanese front.
Israel and Lebanon are currently in a dispute over the gas field, with the Lebanese government claiming Israel violated its maritime sovereignty and “invaded its marine resources" when it stationed a gas rig in the Karish field earlier this year, while Israel claims that the rig's location is not in the zone under dispute, nor subject to the negotiations that have been taking place between the two countries over the maritime border since October 2020.