The Israeli army said that it downed a Hezbollah drone that crossed into Israeli airspace from Lebanon, one week after the Lebanese militant group fired 19 rockets at an open ground in the Occupied Golan Heights.
By firing the rockets in the direction of the Shebaa Farms border area, Hezbollah aimed to get across a message to Israel that the Iran-backed Lebanese group is capable of responding to the air strikes launched by Israel on Lebanese territory last week, according to the Israeli newspaper Maariv.
Israeli authorities expect that the coming days might witness an escalation of tensions with Hezbollah, Maariv reported, adding that the Israelis prefer to avoid direct military confrontation with Hezbollah.
The newspaper cited Hezbollah's deputy secretary-general, Naim Qassem, as saying: "We do not want a war or a combat round [with Israel], but if Israel attacks, we will respond."
The Jerusalem Post quoted Israeli Defence Minister Benny Gantz as saying on Wednesday, in reference to the economic crisis and fuel shortage in Lebanon: "The crisis in Lebanon is devastating. The State of Israel calls on the international community to aid Lebanon. We are also willing to provide assistance. However, we will not let the tragedy in Lebanon cross the border into Israel. We are well aware of Hezbollah's attempts to exploit the situation at the expense of the safety and livelihoods of Lebanese citizens – under the direct influence of Iran."
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