A small drone operated by the Israel Defence Forces (IDF) crashed in southern Lebanon at Fatima Gate on Wednesday morning. It appeared to have been shot down, although differing accounts regarding the incident were reported after the surveillance device was identified as a small DJI Mavic, as used commonly by Israeli soldiers.
The IDF uses drones near the border with Lebanon on a daily basis for intelligence gathering purposes. The army claimed on Twitter that its unmanned military drone “fell” during “routine security activity.”
However, according to Lebanon’s state-run National News Agency, an “enemy drone” was shot down by a civilian using a hunting rifle in the southern town of Fatima Gate. Al-Manar TV said that a resident of Kafarkela, a village in southern Lebanon across the border from the Israeli town of Metula, downed the unmanned aerial vehicle with his shotgun. Video shared on social media showed the aerial device hovering in the air next to the Fatima Gate, followed by gunfire.
A similar incident occurred last month, when Israel confirmed that one of its devices “fell” in Lebanon, after Hezbollah reported that it downed a drone. The Lebanese military said that the incident violated Lebanon’s airspace, and dropped incendiary material to spark a fire in a pine forest by the border.
Meanwhile, an investigation by the Lebanese government has concluded that the three Israeli drones which crashed in Beirut in August were on an attack mission when they were brought down. The leader of Iran-backed Hezbollah said that his field commanders were prepared to retaliate to Israeli’s drones. Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah claimed that those which crashed in the Lebanese capital were armed with 5.5 kilos of C4 explosives.
Israeli aircraft regularly enter Lebanese airspace. The government in Beirut has sent several complaints to the United Nations about Israeli drones and aircraft breaching its sovereignty in this way.