The Israeli military downed a drone over Israel's border with Lebanon on Monday, the military said, weeks after four Hezbollah drones were intercepted on their way to an Israeli-operated gas field near a disputed area between Israel's and Lebanon's territorial waters.
In a statement, the military said that Israeli forces saw the drone, which "likely belongs to Hezbollah," cross from Lebanon into Israeli territory, and intercepted it.
The drone had been tracked by Israel throughout its flight, the military said.
Hezbollah has occasionally sent drones into Israeli airspace before, calling them reconnaissance missions.
Earlier this month, Israel downed three Hezbollah drones who crossed into Israel's exclusive maritime economic zone. The military said that the drones were not armed, and did not pose a risk, but were believed to be headed toward the disputed Karish gas field.
Later that day, Hezbollah released a statement taking responsibility for the launch, saying that the organization sent the UAVs to the area "for intelligence gathering purposes." Their statement continued, "The drones carried out their intended mission and also sent the intended message to the Israeli side."
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A fourth Hezbollah drone was intercepted days later by Israel on its way to the maritime zone. It was shot down over Lebanon's territorial waters, and officials said it did not pose a danger to Israel.
Lebanon claimed that Israel violated its maritime sovereignty and “invaded its marine resources" when it stationed a gas rig in the Karish field last month, 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.
Last week, Hezbollah leader Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah said in a televised address that "no one" would be allowed to operate in maritime oil and gas fields if Lebanon was barred from its "rights" in extracting from areas off of its own coast. "If you don't give us the rights that our state is asking for ... then we could flip the table on everyone," he said.
Reuters contributed to this report.