Israeli Drones Are an Open Attack on Lebanon's Sovereignty, Prime Minister Charges

Hezbollah says drone fell on roof of its media center ■ Drones may in fact be Iranian, not Israeli ■ Nasrallah due to 'respond harshly' in speech later Sunday

Amos Harel
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Forensic investigators of Lebanon's military intelligence inspecting the scene where two drones fell in Beirut, August 25. 2019.
Forensic investigators of Lebanon's military intelligence inspecting the scene where two drones fell in Beirut, August 25. 2019. Credit: AFP
Amos Harel

Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri said on Sunday the fall of two Israeli drones in Beirut was a threat to regional stability that heightened tensions, describing it as an open attack on the country's sovereignty.

Harari said he was in consultations with President Michel Aoun on what next steps would be undertaken over what he called the "new aggression." He said there was also a heavy presence of planes in the sky over the capital and its suburbs, his office said in a statement.

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President Aoun said the "Israeli aggression" in Beirut's southern suburbs is a "chapter of continuing violations of Security Council Resolution 1701."

UN Security Council resolution 1701 called for a ceasefire that ended a 33-day war between Lebanon and Israel in 2006.

A poster of Hezbollah leader Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah amid other damage inside the media office in Beirut, Lebanon, August 25, 2019.Credit: Bilal Hussein/AP

Aoun added in a statement that the crashed drones had targeted stability and peace in Lebanon and the region.

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

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 Palestinian Islamic Jihad said it was Lebanon’s “right to defend its territory. Benjamin Netanyahu is taking steps for political gain at the expense of civilians and regional stability.”

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

According to the Lebanese government and Hezbollah, the organization disrupted an Israeli UAV assault. However, Haaretz's Amos Harel says, another possibility is that the UAVs or drones that fell were not Israeli, but rather Iranian, and they were connected to plans to thwart attack plans an Al-Quds force following the attacks in Syria. Israel and Hezbollah may have a common interest here in calming things down, at least on the Lebanese front.

A Hezbollah spokesman said the group's Secretary General Hassan Nasrallah is due to “respond harshly” to the incident in a speech slated for 5 P.M. local time.

DPA contributed to this report.

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