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Israel drone crashes in Lebanon

July 27, 2020 at 2:11 pm

A model of the SkyStriker drone by Israel’s Elbit Systems, dubbed ‘the suicide drone’, 11 January 2019 [Facebook]

An Israeli reconnaissance drone has crashed inside Lebanese territory “during IDF operational activity”, the Israeli army has reported, adding, “there is no concern that any information was leaked”.

The drone crashed because of a technical failure while flying over the border region during a mission, according to a report by Israel’s Channel 12.

Meanwhile, Lebanon’s National News Agency (NNA) reported Israeli warplanes were sighted flying in southern Lebanese airspace throughout Sunday.

Israeli drones are repeatedly flown over southern Lebanon to monitor Hezbollah’s movements in the region which is a notorious stronghold of support for the Iranian-backed Shia militia.

The crash took place only days after Israel reportedly bolstered the northern border defences along the Lebanese frontier.

Israel also strengthened border defences on the Syrian frontier in the occupied Golan Heights. Initial reinforcements were ordered on Thursday with additional measures added on Friday, according to report by Al Jazeera.

READ: Outgoing Israeli naval commander claims Hezbollah are ‘planning maritime attacks’

Reinforcements were ordered amid fears of retaliation from Hezbollah over the death of one of the group’s fighters in Israeli air strikes in Syria last week.

Hezbollah member Ali Kamel Mohsen was killed during Israeli air strikes targeting an Iranian-backed ammunition depot in the southern outskirts of Damascus on Monday last week.

Israel has since told Hezbollah, in a message sent via the United Nations, that Mohsen’s death was unintentional, but has nevertheless redeployed troops to the border area. Reinforcements were also sent to the Syrian border.

Hours after reinforcements arrived, the Israeli army reportedly attacked targets in southern Syria, citing retaliation for earlier fire into the occupied Golan Heights as the motive.

The Israeli army was quoted by Al Jazeera as saying the reinforcements had “elevated its readiness against various potential enemy actions”.

Meanwhile Israeli Minister of Defence Benny Gantz, who visited the Lebanese border region on Sunday, was quoted by Al Jazeera as saying, Israel “has no interests in Syria or Lebanon, aside from security interests, and we will continue to protect them”.

Adding that, “Lebanon and Syria are responsible for what happens on and from their territory… [Israel is] not seeking unnecessary escalation, but if we are tested, we have high operative capacity, which I hope we will not need to put to use”.

This comes after the Lebanese Army reported a total of 29 violations of Lebanon’s airspace in the previous 48 hours, noting the issue of Israel’s incursions had been taken up with the United Nations peacekeeping force (UNIFIL) along the pair’s border.

READ: PA ambassador to Lebanon visits Islamic Jihad leader in Beirut