Report: Drone From Lebanon Penetrated Israeli Airspace

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Israeli soldiers patrol near an armored vehicle at a temporary road block near the Rosh Hanikra border crossing with Lebanon, in northern Israel December 16, 2013.Credit: Reuters

A small unmanned aerial vehicle reportedly penetrated Israeli air space from Lebanon overnight, Lebanese and Palestinian media said Sunday morning.

According to the reports, the drone entered near Rosh Hanikra on the Mediterranean coast and flew over the Galilee for 20 minutes before returning to Lebanon. There was no confirmation of the report from Lebanese officials. The IDF declined to comment on the reports.

In recent years, Hezbollah - with Iranian help - has improved its UAVs and boasts that it has numerous drones in its service, which it says can be used for attack or collecting intelligence. In 2012, a drone entered Israeli airspace from the southwest, and was shot down north of the Negev city of Arad by fighter planes. In 2006, the Israel Air Force also shot down a Hezbollah UAV flying towards Haifa.

During the Second Lebanon War in 2006, Hezbollah launched Iranian made Ababil (Swallow) UAVs, which are capable of carrying explosives. These were intercepted by Israeli fighter planes and shot down.

In 2004, another UAV penetrated Israeli airspace from southern Lebanon, without being identified by the Air Force. The drone flew over Israel for some time and finally crashed into the sea on its way back to Lebanon. The Air Force was criticized after this incident for not picking up the UAV before it entered Israeli territory.

Last September, the IDF's air defense forces shot down a Syrian Sukhoi 24 jet which entered Israeli territory over the Golan Heights. The plane was shot down by a Patriot missile some 800 meters west of the border, on the Israeli side. It seems the plane had already turned to return to Syria when it was hit by the missile, and the two pilots managed to operate their ejector seats and landed in Syrian territory. The Syrians confirmed that "a Syrian warplane was hit over the Quneitra area."

Official Syrian sources called is a clear violation of United Nations Security Council Resolution 2170, and Israel was supporting in practice the terrorist organizations of ISIS and the Nusra Front, said the Syrians.

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