Lebanon's Hezbollah says downed Israeli drone

By: AFP      Published: 04:50 PM, 23 Aug, 2020
Lebanon's Hezbollah says downed Israeli drone

Lebanon's Iran-backed Hezbollah movement said Saturday it had downed and seized an Israeli drone that flew over the UN-demarcated Blue Line border.

The Israel Defense Forces said that "earlier today, during IDF operational activity along the Blue Line, an IDF drone fell in Lebanese territory".

"There is no risk of breach of information," it added in a statement.

Hezbollah said its fighters had downed the drone near the town of Aita al-Shaab.  

The Jewish state, which is technically at war with Lebanon, late last month said it had repelled an attempt by Hezbollah fighters to penetrate the border.

The Shiite Muslim group Hezbollah denied any involvement in the incident, which came after an alleged Israeli missile attack hit positions of Syrian regime forces and their allies south of Damascus, killing five.

Hezbollah, whose fighters back Damascus in the nine-year-old Syrian civil war, at the time said one of its own was among the dead and it vowed to respond.

Hezbollah had in September 2019 vowed to down Israeli drones overflying Lebanon following an incident a month earlier when two drones packed with explosives targeted Hezbollah's stronghold in south Beirut.

Lebanon and Israel are still technically at war, and the United Nations force, UNIFIL, patrols the border between the two.

Set up in 1978, UNIFIL was beefed up after a month-long devastating war in 2006 between Israel and Lebanon's Iran-backed Shiite militia Hezbollah.

The 10,500-strong force, in coordination with the Lebanese army, is tasked with monitoring a ceasefire and Israeli pullout from a demilitarised zone on the border.

Israel accuses Hezbollah of stockpiling weapons at the border to prepare for a new war.